Table shows trade data for medical equipment in Hong Kong.
|2023 (Jan- June)
|Imports from the U.S.
|Exchange Rate: 1 USD
Value: USD million
Data Sources: Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department
(Medical equipment refers to instruments and apparatus under HS code 9018, 9019, 9020, 9021, 9022, 9025 and 9402
Healthcare services in Hong Kong are provided by both the private sector and the government-funded public sector. The Department of Health oversees healthcare policies and public medical services for the city. Hospital Authority (HA) is the governing body that manages all public hospitals and health institutions. Along with the mandate to provide quality and affordable healthcare services to residents, services are delivered through 43 public hospitals, 49 specialist clinics, and 74 general outpatient clinics. These entities are categorized under seven clusters based on locations and a workforce of 90,000 staff.
In 2022, there were a total of 36,564 hospital beds in the city, including 30,105 beds in 43 public hospitals, 5,147 beds in 13 private hospitals, and the remainder in nursing homes and correctional institutions. The bed-to-population ratio is 4.9 beds per thousand population.
Hong Kong’s total expenditure on healthcare amounted to US$25.6 billion or 7.3 percent of GDP in 2022 and is among the highest in Asia. In the 2022/2023 Hong Kong government budget, US$11.8 billion was allocated to Hospital Authority (HA), an increase of US$1.15 billion from the year before. This makes the HA the largest end-user of pharma and medical health devices in Hong Kong. Much of this allocation goes into healthcare subsidies for residents, as they are only required to pay a minimal charge at public hospitals. The list of fees and charges can be referred here.
During its annual Hospital Authority Convention, the agency emphasized their priorities in dealing with a rapidly aging population as the number of residents above 65 years of age will increase to 26.4percent by 2036. This trend has also accelerated due to the high number of migrations among youth and working-age populations in the wake of Hong Kong’s diminishing autonomy and Covid-19 restrictions. In addition, Hong Kong has one of the longest life expectancies globally with 81.3 years for males and 87.2 for females in 2022.
Another of HA’s most pressing challenges is the talent shortage and training. Since the 2023 removal of Covid-19 restrictions, the Hong Kong government is focused on enhancing government medical services including expediting the upgrading or acquisition of medical equipment, the introduction of advanced medical devices, and the promotion of primary healthcare services.
Hong Kong has started two back-to-back 10-year hospital development plans, amounting to US$64 billion, to enable the government to expand and upgrade healthcare facilities. The first 10-year plan is estimated to cost US$25.6 billion and will be completed by 2027. The second 10-year plan is budgeted at US$38.4 billion. Projects will include providing 15,000 additional hospital beds, over 90 operating theatres, the redevelopment and expansion of 11 hospitals, and construction of a new acute general hospital to meet projected service demand by 2036. This new hospital will house the first neuroscience center in Hong Kong.
An aging population means an increase the prevalence of chronic diseases. In response, the government plans to strengthen ambulatory services, including a phased plan to construct ambulatory care centers and community health centers and to improve clinic facilities. The Hong Kong government will establish a framework to implement measures for disease prevention, disease screening, and identification (especially chronic diseases) by making use of big data analytics. The Hong Kong government will continue to further invest in geriatrics to alleviate the burden on the HA.
In April 2019, the Hong Kong government implemented the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme to encourage citizens to purchase health insurance and provide more choices for users of private healthcare services. The Government also introduced tax deductions for taxpayers who purchased Certified Plans for themselves and/or specified relatives.
Hong Kong’s medical equipment imports in 2022 amounted to US$2,037 billion. The United States was the market leader in the high-end market segment, capturing 17.3 percent of the total import market. The United States is one of the leading suppliers of advanced radiation equipment and ultrasound diagnostic equipment to hospitals in Hong Kong.
Medicines and pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Department of Health’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board prior to their sale in Hong Kong. The registration process takes approximately 9 to 15 months and costs between US$5,000-$10,000. The Medical Device Control Office (MDCO) regulates the use of medical devices in Hong Kong. Though registration is currently voluntary, both private and government hospitals generally prefer to use approved devices that has a MDCO listing number. U.S. manufacturers who intend to sell to their devices to hospitals in Hong Kong are encouraged to register. Registration takes approximately two months and costs between US$2,000-$5,000. The voluntary registration scheme is intended as a phase-in of mandatory registration. MDCO has already set up the Medical Device Administrative Control System to facilitate the transition.
- In Vitro Diagnostic Equipment and Reagents
- Implantable and Intervention Materials
- Therapeutic Products
- Imaging Products
- Surgery and Emergency Appliances
- Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Equipment
- Geriatric Specialized Products
- Home-Use Medical Equipment
- Orthopedic Implants and Instruments
- Dental Implants and Instruments
Hospital Authority tenders: Hong Kong’s public and private healthcare development projects represent outstanding business opportunities for U.S. suppliers of hospital systems, medical devices, laboratory equipment, instruments, and hospital supplies. The Hospital Authority procures through public tendering process. Check for Hospital Authority’s notices and invitations for expression of interest.
Future Hospital Development: To ease constraints on the public healthcare system, the general public is encouraged to make use of private medical facilities when possible, and additional land will be allocated for private hospital development. Interested hospital developers, designers, and equipment suppliers may contact us to remain apprised of development plans in this sector.
Preventative and Elder Care: The people of Hong Kong and Macau are becoming more health conscious and focusing more on preventive care, which increasingly includes routine vaccinations and screening for various cancers, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, prenatal care, and regular wellness visits. The rapidly aging populations of both Hong Kong and Macau will require elder care facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as hospital and consumer healthcare products for the elderly.
Digital Healthcare Solutions and e-Commerce: Demand for digital healthcare solutions and home health products has accelerated in the market. E-commerce activity of non-pharmaceutical healthcare products such as dietary supplements has also increased as local consumers purchase more vitamins for boosting their immune system.
Pearl River Delta region, also known as the Greater Bay Area: In November 2019, the Chinese Government announced a policy to allow certain drugs and medical devices approved in Hong Kong, but not yet approved by the China National Medical Product Administration, to be used within designated facilities (i.e., Hong Kong-owned healthcare institutions) in the Greater Bay Area. This initiative provides the U.S. companies who have been selling their pharmaceutical products and medical devices in Hong Kong and Macau a stepping-stone into the bigger market in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangzhou and Shenzhen (which has a population of 70 million), without the need to go through the product registration processes in China. The implementation of this pilot has so far seen one drug and one medical device approved for use at the Hong Kong University-Shenzhen hospital. This an opportunity for U.S. pharmaceutical, biomedical, and health technology companies to register their products in Hong Kong with a view to expanding their business in the Pearl River Delta region.
Agents and Distributors: The best practice for U.S. exporters of pharmaceutical products, and medical equipment and devices to expand into Macau markets is to use Hong Kong-based agents and distributors, given the relatively smaller size of Macau and the proximity of the two markets. The U.S. Commercial Service has contact with Hong Kong distributors of healthcare products and can introduce U.S. companies to these distributors. Many of Hong Kong’s medical agents/distributors have established networks and excellent relationships with the medical industry in Macau. Local agents and distributors can be helpful in marketing U.S. healthcare products in Hong Kong and in mainland China.
U.S. companies that are required to appoint a Locally Responsible Person (LRP). This LRP can be the Hong Kong distributor or an independent third party but must be based in Hong Kong. The LRPs serve as intermediaries and regularly communicate with end-users, importers, the Hong Kong Government. These LRPs can help U.S. exporters to ensure safe and efficacious use of their products in Hong Kong and Macau.
Based on the latest numbers released by the Government of Macau Special Administrative Region, in the second quarter of 2023, Macau has a population of 678,800, of which 13.3 percent are aged 65 and above. It is projected that this number will increase to 18.6 percent by 2031.
Macau residents enjoy universal health coverage and benefits. Residents are entitled to free service at the health centers and supplementary check-ups at one of the two public hospitals when referred from the health centers. There are two private hospitals, ten public clinics, and 319 healthcare establishments, with 2,066 hospital beds.
As an ongoing effort to care for a growing aging population, in 2023, the government announced the construction of The Cotai Islands Healthcare Complex. With a gross area of 420,000-square-metre, this facility will combine the size of all existing public healthcare facilities. It will be managed by Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUNCH) from Beijing. It will be run as a public-private partnership and a non-profit model where all the facilities are owned by the government while PUNCH looks after its day-to-day operation and management.
It has been projected that this new healthcare facility will provide 1,100 hospital beds which will increase the number of hospital beds by 50 percent, possibly paving a way for Macau to develop its medical tourism capabilities.
Hong Kong Trade Show:
Dates: May 16 – May 18 2024
Venues: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
U.S. Trade Shows:
Dates: July 28 – August 01 2024
Venues: Chicago, IL
Dates: June 19 – June 21 2024
Venues: Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach
Dates: December 01 – December 04 2024
Venues: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, NY
For more information about this industry sector, please contact:
U.S. Commercial Service, Hong Kong
Natalie Tong, Commercial Specialist