Medical gadgets fair targets a healthy profit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 4:45am

Ever wonder where doctors and nurses get their gadgets?

With the billion-dollar medical equipment market in China expected to grow, buyers from around the world filled the halls of the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai last week, where the latest medical equipment and devices were on display.

One device that was catching the eye of buyers at the Hong Kong International Medical Devices and Supplies Fair was a pair of hi-tech smart glasses that help nurses find veins.

"Even the best nurses have trouble getting the needles in the first time around," said Frank Ball, president of Evena Medical, a small Silicon Valley company that produces the Eyes-On glasses. "They fail 40 per cent the first time around."

He said it can be particularly difficult to draw blood from young patients, whose veins are smaller. The failure rate can be as high as 60 per cent. The glasses use multiple light frequencies to see below the surface of the skin.

Another product that caught attention was a flossing tool called Toothbat. Looking a bit like a bat signal on a stick, the floss wraps around the ends of the wings, giving the option to floss from three different sides.

"I wanted to make my family floss, but it was hard to. It's kind of messy," said Toothbat developer Gordon Lam Wai-kwong, who is an interior designer.

Andros Chan Ling-ming, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong Medical and Healthcare Device Industries Association, said local manufacturers and distributors were looking to enter second-, third- and fourth-tier cities on the mainland, where the industry is relatively new.

According to research by the association, for every US$1 spent on medicine in China, 20 cents is spent on medical devices. In most places elsewhere, for every US$1 spent on medicine, 70 cents is spent on medical devices. This points to future growth in the already 200 billion yuan (HK$251 billion) market.