Taiwan's medical device industry benefits from the synergies created not only by the industrial clusters distributed along the island, but also from other cutting-edge and complementary industries where Taiwan is strong, such as electronics, tools, or computers. All these factors make Taiwan a future hub for all things medical, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in the rest of the world.
The current structure of Taiwan's medical device industry is drastically different from its global counterparts. While foreign firms dedicate their efforts on hospital supplies, Taiwan emphasizes home care products, such as glucose meters, thermometers, mobility scooters, and so on. A growing number of companies are establishing their own brands of highly sophisticated products that are already capturing market share in the USA.
Taiwan's medical device industry is gaining momentum in the USA, with companies such as Karma, Apex, and Heartway successfully making a name for themselves in the US market through a series of excellent products marketed under their own brands.
It is worth emphasizing that close collaborative relationships with overseas customers have grown from the supply of components to a level where Taiwan is now a producer of upstream devices and a key link in the global medical device supply chain. Furthermore, domestic manufacturers have reached mature production technology. By assisting international giants through OEM and sales of self-owned brands, they have already secured a very important leading position in the global market.
During the last decade, the total output value of Taiwan's medical device industry has increased exponentially year after year, due to an aging population and a more sophisticated and well-funded healthcare system in Taiwan. Although Taiwan's domestic market scale is not big, domestic demand and average medical device expense per capita are increasing with the aging population and the rising public demand for quality healthcare.
Generally speaking, Taiwan's medical device market was worth about US$4.3 billion in terms of sales value in 2013, growing by a CAGR of 7.9% (in US dollar terms) between 2008 and 2013. By the end of 2013, the total output value of Taiwan's medical device market was US$2.7 billion and is expected to reach US$2.9 billion in 2014, an annual growth of 6.1% since 2010.
There are more than 700 medical device-related companies registered as medical device firms in Taiwan, and this number will probably grow in the next few years. Most companies are small to medium OEM/ODM, and most of them mainly produce mid- and low-level medical equipment, with 90% of them involved in manufacturing, including contract manufacturing for multinationals.