New China Plan Makes Hong Kong Global Health Innovation Hub

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The 14th Five-Year Plan from China goes on to support the evolution of Hong Kong into one of the premier global hubs when it comes to technology, especially within the gamut of healthcare, thereby positioning the city as a leading center when it comes to health innovation. Innovation in health has found new grounds due to the onset of research and development that is taking place at a rapid pace not just within the sector but even across the spectrum of ancillaries.

The fact is that this initiative goes on to open novel opportunities throughout the healthcare vertical. Leaders throughout the global healthcare and also traders of medical products, along with startups, services, and investors, convened in Hong Kong for the third International Healthcare Week- IHW which was organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council- HKTDC and where there happened to be discussions pertaining to the latest developments as well as trends that exist in the healthcare industry. Major events were the Asia Summit on Global Health- ASGH which attracted more than 2800 participants coming from 40 nations and areas. Moreover, the Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair went on to attract over 12,000 buyers coming from 60 countries as well as regions.

This gathering went on to offer many networking opportunities, with more than 350 deal-making sessions taking place and over 650 business matching meetings being held up that went on to encourage collabs throughout various industries.

More than 80 experts, which included the likes of researchers, business leaders, medical professionals, and various other healthcare sector reps from across the world, engaged in thorough and in-depth discussions at the ASGH. They happened to cover a myriad of topics that included the development of innovative drugs, healthcare innovation, opportunities for investment within healthcare, and also healthcare insurance.

Prof Lo Chung-mau, who happens to be the Secretary for Health of the Hong Kong SAR, spoke at the first plenary on opportunities to go ahead and co-create a synergistic health innovation ecosystem. He went on to say that Hong Kong is indeed on the road of reforming its medical product registration as well as innovating biomedical research in the decade to come, and that he is also confident the city will indeed attain the objective in terms of developing into a medical and health innovation hub.

Apart from this, one more highlight was the second plenary, where Professor Roger Kornberg, who was also a Nobel Laureate in 2006, underscored the advances within biotech and pointed out that a major limiting element in research in today’s times happens to be financial support, and Hong Kong has gone on to take prominent steps very recently and gone on to announce a program so as to fund US$770 million on a research center with regards to the fundamental studies. He added that this in indeed a good start; however, the point is that it should not end here.

The session, which is known as What’s Next in China’s Healthcare Arena, went on to discuss the recent advancements in healthcare and also the investment spectrum in mainland China. Nan Fung Group’s chairman, Antony Leung, stressed the potential for elevating experiences of patients as one of the areas that is ripe for industry investment.

In one more session, Advancing Healthcare in Asia Through Innovation, the representative Corporate Officer and COO from Eisai Co., Ltd., Yasushi Okada, highlighted the role of Hong Kong as a major hub for East Asia and the ASEAN region and how it is critical for pushing development across science, tech, finance and economics.

The ASGH helped in deal-making by way of teaming healthcare investment projects with many investors, such as venture capitalists, private equity investors, and angel investors, thereby leading to more than 360 one-to-one meetings between project initiators and investors.

In order to give more thrust to broader collaboration within the healthcare industry, like gastrointestinal health, ophthalmology, innovative pharmaceuticals, and AI, the 2024 summit went on to witness the signing of numerous cooperation agreements, such as partnerships between Optima International and TRB Chemedica, Thailand, Zhaoke- Hong Kong Ophthalmology and PT Erela Indonesia, and many more.

The event also went on to witness the inception of the LiverCare-Hong Kong 10 million liver scans program done by the Hong Kong LiverCare Alliance, thereby looking forward to conducting 10 million early liver disease screenings in order to enhance awareness of public when it comes to liver health.

Moreover, the Medical Fair, which happens to be jointly organized by the Hong Kong Medical and Healthcare Device Industries Association and HKTDC, showcased almost 300 exhibitors across numerous countries and regions, including the likes of contributions coming on from local universities as well as healthcare enterprises.

Dr. Cheng Man-Hong, the Director of Maxwin & Honwell Limited, a medical equipment company exhibiting at the fair for the very first time, remarked that they have gone on to connect with more than 150 new customers, and they do believe the fact that more than 50% of them happen to have collaboration opportunities. They are also expecting to secure orders with a total value of almost $3 million. Assel Abakova, the deputy director of Amanat LLP Pharmaceutical Company, a Kazak company, happened to attend this fair for the first time. Due to the increasing scenarios of laryngeal cancer within the area, there indeed happens to be a quick requirement in terms of a quick diagnostic tool that can help with immediate treatment. As per her, they went on to find a Hong Kong exhibitor that happens to offer AI-led diagnostic solutions, which may as well relieve the shortage in terms of medical and testing professionals across the region.

The buyers will go on to keep negotiating with the exhibitor so as to customize and also adapt to the local requirements, and due to this, the anticipated value of the project could very well go over $10 million.