The demand for medical equipment in Vietnam has been increasing due to the need to for treatment for cancer, heart disease, injuries, with focus on imaging equipment, operation room, emergencies resuscitation, intensive testing. The reason behind is the rising income and awareness of treatment for better quality of life. The foreign companies also tend to seek market entry solutions from independent consultant or local partners whom will be distributing the products into Vietnam to maximize the success chance.
In 2012, the size of medical equipment and supplies had been estimated by Ministry of Health at USD 515 m and the growth rate is between 10-11% per year.
However, the market development has been faster than anticipated. In 2016, total investment in medical equipment in Vietnam was USD 950 million USD. By 2017, this figure increased to USD 1.1 bil and that growth rate has been 18% over the past 5 years.
It has been reported 90% of equipment and supplies are imported from Japan, Germany, USA, China and Singapore, the 3 leading countries are United States, Germany and Japan. The imported imaging equipment such as magnetic resonators, CT machines, ultrasound machines, x-ray machines accounted for 30% of the import volume.
The Ministry of Health has policy to improve the capacity of medical equipment production in Vietnam over the last 20 years ago but the success is limited. Currently, there are about 50 domestic enterprises, but mainly produce medical bed and cabinet. The more advanced machines are being assembled by enterprise that cooperate with Japanese and Korean partners.
It has been evaluated that medical equipment is one of four attractive sectors for foreign investors when targeting Vietnam, in addition to investment in electronics, IT and communication and textiles. Public hospitals, which account for 70% of the market share, are still the largest customers of these manufacturers. The remaining other customer groups include foreign invested hospitals, private hospitals and research institutes, universities.
Government investment capital will continue to play an important role and public hospitals will tend to be more self-reliant in seeking financing for medical equipment investments.
For foreign companies entering Vietnam for supplying medical equipment, they have to follow strict process for bidding for public service. It is important for the foreign medical equipment to follow the Vietnam law and undertake regulatory investigation and research on medical equipment there are different implications for the import, sales and distribution into Vietnam.