China's OTC healthcare market set to boom

Growing consumer confidence in the quality of self-medication products, improved regulation and increasing interest in preventive medicine, nutrition and wellness will make China the fastest growing over-the-counter (OTC) market in the world by 2010, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. Vitamins and minerals will be key drivers, with growth of 55 per cent and sales of $2.4 billion by 2010, it said.

There is a "fantastic opportunity for healthcare companies," Euromonitor said in its report, The World Market for OTC Healthcare. "China will contribute almost one fifth (18 per cent) of the total growth in global sales for the OTC healthcare industry between 2005 and 2010. This impressive growth will be underpinned by a continuing rise in disposable income in China, an ageing population and increased confidence in self-medication," said Adrienne Crossley, Euromonitor's Global OTC health care manager.

Euromonitor highlighted the Alticor (Amway China) product, Nutrilite, as an example of how to successfully negotiate the Chinese market. "Nutrilite has harnessed the trend for consumers taking responsibility for their own health by employing the tagline, 'no health, no future,' and positioning their premium product as the best way to achieve this goal," Crossley said.

Companies like Alticor are "well positioned to respond to the recent liberalisation of direct selling in China, along with new direct sellers such as Joincare Pharmaceutical."

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