* The Chinese government plans to expand the health insurance programme to cover all rural residents. Urban health insurance is already well established and the government plans to cover all urban dwellers, including the unemployed and children, by 2010.
* The Chinese medical device market is largely supplied by imports or products made locally by multinational joint ventures, especially at the higher end of the technology scale.
* The regulatory system has been notoriously difficult to negotiate successfully. In an attempt to remedy this, revisions to the registration process have been implemented.
* The USA and Germany are the only countries to import more medical equipment than Japan, Conversely, Japan is the eighth highest exporter of medical devices in the world.
* A rapidly ageing population has burdened the healthcare system both in terms of funding and facilities. As a result, payments made by the government to medical institutions have been slashed.
* The growing number of patients requiring long-term care and the advent of the elderly health insurance system offers great potential within the market.
* Japan has the most expensive medical equipment in the world. It should however be borne in mind that some of the reasons for this lie with a distribution system that hikes up retail prices with hidden costs.
* An awkward regulatory system, a slow approval process and cultural differences have often put off some overseas investors, although recent legislation has attempted to address many access difficulties.
* Along with South Korea, Taiwan is one of the richer 'Asian Tiger' economies. Per capita GDP is similar to New Zealand, and behind only Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia in the region.
* Provision of healthcare is generally in the private sector. There is considered to be widespread overuse of serv
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