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The Outlook for Medical Devices in South East Asia
Date:3/20/2012

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SOUTH KOREA

South Korea ranks as one of the world's leading economies, with a population approaching 50 million and overall GDP listed among the top 15 in the world. As a result, much of the population expects a high level of medical care. South Korea has the highest healthcare expenditure of all the 'Asian Tigers', with an estimated 60% funded by the public sector. The government has been forced to implement cost-cutting measures in recent years, owing to a large deficit faced by the healthcare system. Healthcare costs continue to rise, with the country's rapidly aging population adding upward pressure to total spending. In the first half of 2009 for example, senior citizens accounted for 31.7% of costs covered by the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC). South Korea's FTA with the European Union (EU) is being finalised, and this will facilitate increased trade with the easing of tariff and non-tariff barriers between the two parties. Bilateral trade reached US$98.4 billion in 2008. The EU is South Korea's second largest trading partner after China and its largest foreign investor. South Korea is the EU's eighth largest trade partner.

THAILANDThe Thailand medical device market has been undergoing a period of rapid growth, and if fundamentals remain the same, the market looks set to expand at an attractive9.1% per annum in the medium term. This growth could be somewhat tempered as a result of a global economic downturn, but the percentage point growth rate is stillexpected to be high by world standards. Market growth is tied to the strength of the United States economy, and the performance of the local currency against the dollar. After a period of slow recovery, imports surpassed the pre-late 90s economic crash for the first time in 2004 and has spiked a further 105.8%. Imports have grown each year between 2001 and 2009, all while the county continued to maintain a steady positive balance of trade. The government has continued t
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