Asian countries spending more on health care IT

China is leading emerging markets in Asia — including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam — in an increasing percentage of the IT spending in the healthcare industry across Asia.

In its latest research on IT adoption in the healthcare industry in Asia, Springboard Research found that emerging markets account for 59 percent of the US$3.4 billion in healthcare IT spending in Asia (excluding Japan) in 2007, with this share expected to increase to 64 percent of spending by 2010.

“While it is no surprise to IT vendors that the emerging markets in Asia are growing quickly, the percentage of the total healthcare IT spending could provide a surprise to many vendors,” said Jonathan Silber, research manager for Springboard Research. Silber notes that the key strategy for vendors is to understand the solution trends in each market and tailor their strategies to make sure they are going after their addressable market, instead of just a big number. “With the way the market is fragmented you can not have a regional strategy–it needs to be focused on the countries and solutions where a vendor can execute,” added Mr. Silber.

Healthcare IT spending in the emerging markets of Asia is still very much a hardware based play as these economies build their basic IT infrastructure. Sixty-one percent of the 2007 spending was on hardware and this is expected to continue relatively steady, dropping slowly to 57 percent in 2010 as spending starts to move more into software and IT services. Both software and IT services are expected to grow across these emerging markets at a compound average growth rate of about 15 percent between 2006 and 2010.

“China is the 800 pound gorilla of technology in the Asian healthcare industry. It is already the largest market and is starting to dwarf the other emerging markets in the region. If a vendor has limited resources to cover multiple emerging markets in the region, they need to make a key decision on whether to focus their resources solely on China to better capture the opportunity or spread them out among multiple countries where the opportunity is much smaller,” added Mr. Silber. “We are seeing the larger vendors with scale, resources, and an existing channel network reap the greatest benefits at this point.”

Springboard’s research has shown an increased emergence of local ISVs and SIs in the healthcare sector in Asia’s emerging economies, specifically in niche solution areas. These local firms are both partnering and competing with the multinational players to meet the local needs of the Asian healthcare industry. Springboard expects competition to increase over the next few years as more multinational providers focus on the healthcare opportunity in these countries.

The Springboard Research study, IT in the Healthcare Industry in Asia-IT Vendors Make a House Call, examines key trends, market sizing, and forecasts in the Asia (excluding Japan) public and private healthcare industry. A key focus area of the report is the inclusion of an array of market data, including market size and growth forecasts, for key technologies by country. Springboard also analyzes what is driving IT adoption by country as well as what social, economic, and government actions and policies are driving IT spending within each country. This extensive research study aims to help IT vendors identify key target markets and segments in the healthcare industry to help them better understand and penetrate this industry.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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