With an annual growth rate of more than 10%, and a stated investment priority by its government, the Chinese healthcare market for medical display technology is booming. Both Chinese as well as international medtech industry-players are therefore investing in a local presence in the country. The area of Suzhou, close to Shanghai, was designated as a medtech development area and promoted by Suzhou Industrial Park Admin Committee SIPAC. In March 2018, Barco opened a small office in the area, and 1 year later officially opens a brand-new healthcare hub. This new Barco center of expertise is fully dedicated to medical imaging solutions, and includes services across the entire value chain – from product development and engineering, to manufacturing, logistics, support, and other related services.
The new healthcare hub focusses on the modality, diagnostic and surgical markets. Situated near the medtech eco-system in China, Barco’s Suzhou hub is to become a platform to collaborate with both China based customers and suppliers to develop and grow. The set-up of the semi-automated state-of-the-art production line excels in efficiency and has the capacity to manufacture 20,000 medical displays per year in the first phase. The line passed UL, CCC and SGS ISO certification, and customer audits earlier this year. Having successfully passed these milestones, production of the first batches of surgical displays has started for some major medtech customers, while development and production negotiation with multiple local medtech companies in the Suzhou eco-system are underway.
"This new center of excellence fits into our 'In China for China' strategy, which means that we want to have a local presence in China, close to our customers," says Filip Pintelon, General Manager for the Healthcare Business Group. "Our new Suzhou facility has access to Barco's worldwide product and technology expertise but will work closely with local partners, both customers and suppliers and thus lead to local innovation. With the new factory we are meeting the high responsiveness and cost requirements that are key to winning in the Chinese market."
On 21 March 2019, the Barco leadership team officially opened its new plant in Suzhou. On the occasion of the official opening, Jan De Witte, Barco CEO, commented: “Two years ago we initiated our ‘In China for China’ strategy for healthcare, and we are proud that we can now already open this new research and manufacturing plant. The Suzhou Healthcare center of excellence is a proofpoint that gives us the confidence to further extend the ICFC approach to other elements of the Barco portfolio, in our aim to tap into Chinese capabilities and capture share in Chinese growth markets.”