In what's sure to be a significant event in the increasingly dynamic China cardiac rhythm management (CRM) market, MicroPort and Sorin are set to shakeup a domain penetrated by few foreign companies with last week's announcement of a joint venture to market and develop pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization devices. MicroPort has already left its footprint in the China interventional cardiology and electrophysiology (EP) markets, while Sorin has established a small presence in the Chinese heart valve device market. The agreement will seek to leverage MicroPort's existing distribution base and Sorin's reputation as a leading manufacturer of CRM products in the global market. The two companies will combine their efforts to facilitate the import of existing Sorin CRM products as well as establish a local manufacturer base.

Penetrating the China CRM market, where global CRM giants Medtronic and St. Jude Medical have established leading positions, will not be easy. However, the rewards of gaining share are manifold. The Chinese CRM market is larger than the EP and heart valve device markets combined, with many expecting double-digit growth over the next several years. This is in stark contrast to the US, European, and Japanese markets where, as we reported last year, market saturation and price declines have sapped growth. Can we expect more companies to follow Sorin's example and expand their presence in the fast-growing Chinese market as a means of shoring up revenue shortfalls. Watch this space to see.

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