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China relaxes curbs on foreign investment in hospitals  


2014-08-27 12:25 Ecns.cn Web Editor: Gu Liping

(ECNS) -- China has relaxed its limits on foreign investment in hospitals on the mainland, according to a circular released Wednesday on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

The circular states that from July 25, 2014 foreign investors are permitted to set up wholly-owned medical institutions across designated areas in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan, either by establishing a new entity or through mergers and acquisitions.

But it bans overseas investors who are not of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to open Chinese medecine hospitals in the areas above.

The authority to approve those hospitals will be transferred to provincial governments, it added.

The circular, jointly released by the ministry and the National Health and Family Planning Commission, has ordered those wholly-foreign-owned hospitals to follow the country's medical standard and obey management regulations of medical institutions.

China is an appealing market for pharmaceutical firms and medical-equipment makers, with spending in the industry expected to nearly triple to $1 trillion by 2020 from $357 billion in 2011, according to consulting firm McKinsey.

On the other hand, China has spent 3 trillion yuan ($480 billion) on healthcare reform Since 2009, but the system still struggles with a scarcity of doctors, a string of doctor-patient disputes and a fragmented drug distribution and retail market.

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