• February 1, 2024
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2024 is a significant year, marking a relatively stable and recovering phase globally after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, China’s healthcare and biotechnology sectors have played a crucial role, not only supporting and contributing to the fight against the pandemic but also presenting opportunities for transformation and development within the industry. According to the “2023 Global Healthcare and Biotech Investment Outlook” survey, China’s healthcare and biotech industry witnessed record-breaking transaction activities in 2023, surpassing the combined total of the United States and Europe, demonstrating China’s competitiveness and attractiveness in this field. As the pandemic gradually subsides in 2024, China’s healthcare and biotech industry is expected to experience even greater investment enthusiasm. In this context, AI, digitization, and innovation will be key drivers of industry growth.

Artificial intelligence is the core driving force behind healthcare and biotech industries, as it can help improve the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis and treatment, reduce costs and risks, enhance the accessibility and convenience of healthcare services, and facilitate the analysis and application of medical data. China possesses abundant data resources, strong technological foundations, extensive application scenarios, and policy support in the field of artificial intelligence, thus enjoying unique advantages and potential. According to the “2023 China Artificial Intelligence Healthcare Market White Paper,” China’s artificial intelligence healthcare market reached 120 billion yuan in 2023 and is expected to exceed 200 billion yuan in 2024, with an average annual growth rate exceeding 50%.

The main application areas of AI in healthcare and biotech include medical imaging, drug research and development, intelligent diagnosis, smart hospitals, and telemedicine, covering various aspects of the healthcare and biotech industries. For example, Alibaba Health’s AI doctor platform provides 24/7 online consultations, prescriptions, and referrals, addressing the issue of imbalanced and insufficient medical resources. Baidu’s AI drug research platform utilizes deep learning and big data technologies to accelerate drug discovery and development, reducing costs and time in research and development. Tencent’s AI medical imaging platform assists doctors in image analysis and diagnosis, improving healthcare quality and safety.

Digitization is the foundation supporting the healthcare and biotech industries, enabling the collection, storage, sharing, and utilization of medical data, enhancing the level of healthcare management and services, and meeting personalized and precision healthcare needs. China has a wide user base, comprehensive infrastructure, diverse cooperation models, and active policy promotion in the field of digitization, thus enjoying significant advantages and opportunities. China’s digital healthcare market reached 800 billion yuan in 2023 and is projected to exceed 1 trillion yuan in 2024, with an average annual growth rate exceeding 20%. The main application areas of digital healthcare include electronic medical records, e-prescriptions, electronic health cards, electronic health files, and electronic health insurance, covering various aspects of the healthcare and biotech industries. For example, Microsoft and Oracle’s electronic medical records platforms provide unified data management and service platforms for medical institutions, achieving standardization and interoperability of medical data. JD Health’s e-prescription platform offers users one-stop online medical consultations and medicine delivery services, realizing convenient and efficient healthcare services. Ping An Good Doctor’s electronic health card platform provides users with a nationwide universal health card, achieving seamless and intelligent healthcare services.

China has vast market demand, a vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere, abundant talent resources, and an open innovation ecosystem in the field of innovation, thus having unlimited possibilities and driving force. China’s healthcare and biotech innovation projects exceeded 3,000 in 2023, involving cutting-edge areas such as gene editing, cell therapy, biosensors, wearable technology, and bioprinting, showcasing China’s innovation capability and vitality in this field. Innovation is primarily driven by the collaboration and support of entrepreneurs, scholars, investors, and the government, forming a virtuous cycle and ecosystem for innovation. For example, Tsinghua University’s gene editing platform provides customized gene editing services for the healthcare and biotech industries, addressing challenges in treating genetic diseases and cancer. BGI Genomics’ cell therapy platform offers professional cell therapy services for immune deficiencies and tissue damage repair. Xiaomi’s wearable technology platform provides multifunctional smart wearable devices for health monitoring and management, addressing the needs of health monitoring and management. These innovative cases not only bring higher healthcare quality and effectiveness to users but also deliver higher innovation value and returns to investors.

In the post-pandemic era of 2024, China’s healthcare and biotech industries will experience a surge in investment, with artificial intelligence, digitization, and innovation being key factors driving industry development. China possesses unique advantages and potential in these areas but also faces challenges and risks. Therefore, China’s healthcare and biotech industries need to continuously innovate and improve to meet the needs and expectations of users and achieve sustainable and healthy industry development.