Intelligence > NAI Reports > Lessons from Australia and China’s Healthcare Cooperation: What Can Canadian Firms Learn?

Lessons from Australia and China’s Healthcare Cooperation: What Can Canadian Firms Learn?

By Editing NAI
11/03/2015 4:34 p.m.

NAI500 Comments:

i. The Chinese government is heavily focused on the health of its citizens as shown by its decision to build 7,500 public hospitals through the private sector over the next decade.

ii. China’s health challenges include significantly high rates of smoking, high pollution levels, and a rapidly aging population.

iii. Given China’s healthcare challenges, Canadian healthcare developers should target cancer treatment, heart disease treatment, and age related solutions.

iv. The cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai, and provinces including Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan were included in pilot programs for establishing wholly foreign-owned hospitals in 2014. Furthermore, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone offers a number of unique incentives for foreign investment in medical technology.


As the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) looks set to be ratified later this year, a new report has identified the healthcare sector as one of the key beneficiaries from the agreement.

The report into ‘Australia-China healthcare opportunities’ by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, National Australian Bank and the George Institute for Global Health has identified areas where Australian businesses can capitalise on China’s increasing demand for quality healthcare.

“China is changing its disease profile from that of a developing country, where infectious diseases are much more dominant to that of a developed country in which cancers, heart disease and obesity are much more prevalent. This will have a fundamental impact on healthcare in China,” said Professor Kerry Brown from the University of Sydney's China Studies Centre.

"One important example is China’s addiction to smoking. China is the biggest manufacturer, grower and consumer of tobacco in the world. The health and financial burden this habit has placed on the Chinese healthcare system is only just starting to be realised."

The report identified the major health challenges China will face over the coming decades and identified key business opportunities for Australian healthcare companies.

“China is facing a host of new health challenges, including an ageing population, changing diets, increasing prevalence of obesity and environmental problems,” said Professor Knight.“The demand for high quality health care is a constant, unlike the boom and bust cycles of many other industries such as the resources sector.”

“China is one of the largest markets in the world, and unlocking access to this market will change the landscape for Australian businesses,” said Christine Yates, Executive General Manager at NAB.

Fast facts about China’s health challenges

·         China’s people now smoke a third of all cigarettes consumed in the world, coming to a staggering 1,711 per capita in 2012.

·         In 2012 China set aside 5.4 percent of its GDP for healthcare spending, less than the OECD average of 9.3 percent and under a third of the 16.9 percent spent by the United States. On a per capita basis, the shortfall is quite dramatic, with national expenditure of US$480 per annum, considerably below the OECD average level of US$3484 per annum.

·         China has only 1.6 physicians per thousand people, which is half the OECD average. The situation is even more evident for nurses, with only 1.8 per thousand, compared to the OECD’s average of 8.8.

·         Up to 70 percent of China’s water is believed to be polluted.

·          4,000 people die every day due to health problems caused by pollution in China. This is equivalent to 17 percent of all deaths.

·         In the past aged care institutions have not been very popular in China, however with the rapidly ageing population and the legacy of the one-child policy there is now a strong demand for aged care institutions in the country.

Source:  The University of Sydney


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