Healthcare 'little giants' gain ground in Beijing on capital, tech support
Amid its shift toward innovation-driven development, Beijing has become the top city nurturing "little giants", with those in healthcare getting more eye-catching in recent years.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, little giant companies refer to leading small and medium-sized enterprises that specialize in niche sectors, command a high market share, and boast strong innovative capacity and core technologies.
By September, the country's capital had cultivated 590 national-level little giants, ranking first in terms of number nationwide.
According to Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, Beijing announced 13 batches of provincial-level little giants between 2019 and 2022, with a total number of 5,261, among which 500 are healthcare companies, or 9.5 percent of the total. Among the 500,68 were national-level little giants.
"Judging from their establishment, the average presence of the healthcare little giants in Beijing was less than 15 years, while that for national-level ones is some 15 years," said Che Weiwei, healthcare analyst from Chongqing-based online medical service platform VBData.cn.
"The majority of Beijing healthcare little giants are quite young and have highly advanced technological deployment. They also tend to have outstanding performances in diversified fields, such as leveraging high-tech like artificial intelligence in healthcare," Che said.
Chen Jia, an independent researcher in international strategy, said: "Financing statistics in the most recent two years showed that Beijing, backed by the Beijing Financial Assets Exchange, gathers both the industrial chain of new-generation medical technology and rich healthcare human resources. Beijing enjoys unique comparative advantages over other cities. This explains why it has become one of the top cities for nurturing healthcare little giants."
At the end of last year, the Beijing municipal government launched 16 measures on boosting the high-quality development of SMEs that specialize in strategically important industries, offering supportive policies covering technology innovation, upgrade and transformation, industrial chain support, brand image building, marketing exploration, listing services and financing.
In terms of financing, working with six financial institutions, Beijing launched a specialized loan project for key SMEs. Taking a one-year loan as an example, according to statistics from VBData.cn, by March, the project had granted 1,336 loans, with a total amount of 5 billion yuan ($684.4 million) and a lower average preferential interest rate of 3.6 percent.
"Beijing also launched a 'little giant growth fund', offering specialized funding to enterprises in innovative information technology, semiconductors and healthcare. So far, the fund has supported the listing of one-eighth of the companies listed in the BFAE," Che said.
In terms of subcategories, according to a report from VBData.cn, the 500 provincial-level healthcare little giants in Beijing mainly focus on molecular diagnosis, innovative drug research and development, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical consumables, implanted devices and online healthcare.
Among them, 233 belong to a major subcategory — medical devices, covering in-vitro diagnosis, medical consumables, implanted devices and surgical robots.
Beijing WeMed Medical Equipment Co Ltd is one of them. In September, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the fourth group of companies to be certified as national-level little giant companies, making WeMed both a provincial and national-level little giant. The cardiovascular interventional surgical robot developed by the company enables doctors to conduct surgeries without entering a catheterization room that is full of radiation.
"With supportive government policies, we also plan to develop interventional surgical robots that support remote manipulation. In this way, patients from the grassroots regions are able to enjoy medical resources of the same quality as in first-tier cities," said Yang He, chief executive officer of WeMed.
Chen said: "Beijing is currently the core highland of little giant cultivation. To further consolidate its central position as an innovative medical center, it is suggested that the city fully coordinate resources in healthcare and technology. Meanwhile, it should make constant efforts in localized innovation. It should also stick to reform and opening-up, introduce high-quality medical resources from overseas and integrate resources better."