Hong Kong is entirely dependent on imported diagnostic test products. The total value of imported diagnostic test products in 2007 was US$1 billion, but re-exports totaled US$986 million, with a large percentage entering the China market. Imports from the U.S. were valued at US$314 million (31% of total imports). Japanese, Chinese, German and Swedish products had a 15%, 14%, 9% and 5% market share, respectively.
The Hong Kong market for the diagnostic test products is highly competitive. Industry representatives expect a modest 2% growth in Hong Kong for the next two years, but they predict over 10% growth in China.
Hong Kong will continue to demand test diagnostic products from abroad. Hong Kong is reliant on imports, as there is no domestic production, and with the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), avian (H5N1) flu and influenza outbreaks in the last decade, there is a growing demand for reagents and test instruments to conduct diagnostic tests. Additionally, as China’s population becomes more affluent, they are looking for higher end care. Hong Kong re-exports of diagnostic products to China grew 25% from the preceding year (from US$606 million in 2006 to US$753 million in 2007) and is forecasted to increase. The U.S. is generally regarded as a reputable source of the latest technology. A medical professional commented the U.S. has a strong competitive edge in high-end innovations, with a relative commercialization of medical products. For these reasons, U.S.-made diagnostic test products have good marketability in the Hong Kong Market.
Using 2007 Hong Kong Merchandise Trade statistics, diagnostic test products are divided into instruments and reagents categories for the total imports amount of US$1 billion. U.S.-made test diagnostic products represented the largest share of imported products to Hong Kong, accounting for US$314 million, 31% of the total imports .
In the instruments category , Hong Kong imported a total of US$794 million worth of test diagnostic instruments, with the U.S. representing the largest share with 29% (US$227 million). Following the U.S. is Japan (20%), China (18%), Germany (8%) and Sweden (5%). The instrument which has the highest value imported to Hong Kong in 2007 was Instruments and Apparatus for Physical or Chemical Analysis (HS90278000) at US$268 million.
Hong Kong imported a total of US$217 million worth of diagnostic test reagents in 2007. U.S.-made diagnostic reagents again dominated the largest imports share with 40% (US$87 million). Next were Germany (13%), Sweden (9%), Japan (2%) and China (2%). The Hong Kong Merchandise Trade statistics also showed the most imported test diagnostic reagents to Hong Kong are Composite Diagnostic or Laboratory Reagents (HS 38220090) for the total amount of US$191.
In 2007, the monetary amount of imports for instruments was US$794 million while the monetary amount of imports for reagents were US$217 million. It is possible the amount of imports will not increase significantly in subsequent years because newly purchased instruments will continue to be used, while the amount of test diagnostic reagents will most likely increase as reagents can not be re-used and new reagents must be imported.
By Rose Mak and Elizabeth Cheng