Thursday, February 23, 2012

Malaysian healthcare equipment sector set to boom

KUALA LUMPUR: If you are in the healthcare business and wondering what is the next best thing to put your money in, the answer is to invest in medical equipment.

The segment is about to boom within the next three years in Malaysia, Frost and Sullivan vice-president of healthcare in Asia Pacific Rhenu Buller said.

"We estimate this segment to grow about 12.5 per cent in the next three years as hospitals improve their equipment in order to entice more patients to their facility.

"It is very important to have the latest products or equipment because medical tourism is becoming a major economic factor, not just in Malaysia but in other Asian Pacific countries as well. 

"This year alone, the healthcare market is expected to reach RM13.2 billion," Bhuller said at a talk on "Rising Middle Income, Medical Tourism Create Impact for APAC Healthcare Market" in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

She said Indonesian patients represented the biggest bulk of healthcare travellers in Malaysia, constituting nearly 70 per cent of the total arrivals for medical tourism here.

"The latest agreement between Singapore and Malaysia on cross border medical reimbursement has resulted in steady inflow of Singaporean medical tourists to Malaysia, which is becoming the second largest nationality seeking medical treatment here," she said.

She added that Malaysia alone had seen an increase in medical tourists by 15 per cent to 20 per cent annually since 2005.
Besides medical tourism, Bhuller added that the positive outlook on the nation's healthcare was also because of the rising middle class and aging populace that changes healthcare services configuration and market strategies.

"Asia's population is expected to grow to 4.5 billion by 2050, which accounts for 60 per cent of the world's population.

"Currently there are about 4.8 million Asian households with income above RM150,000 per annum and this is expected to grow by another three per cent to five per cent in Southeast Asia," Buller added.

Source: Business Times, 24 February 2012

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