CHINESE BIOTECH INDUSTRY SHOWING STRONG SIGNS OF DEVELOPMENT

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The biotechnology base in China's Tianjin Economic and Technological Area (TEDA) is growing in strength, according to industry observers. Currently there are over 70 biomedicine enterprises in TEDA, and although biotechnology only accounts for a small part of TEDA's gross economy, the sector is growing at an average rate of 30% per year.

Market sources point out that the cycle for return on investment in the biomedicine industry is five to eight years and TEDA is thus set to reap the benefits from a number of recent biotech start-ups. In 2001, a "biopark" was established in TEDA with the aim of supporting biotechnology enterprises and attracting talented personnel from home and abroad. The park is a complete industrial platform, providing state-of-the-art laboratories and infrastructure. A number of innovative new medicines have been developed in the "biopark" and have gone on to receive regulatory approval for marketing and production.

Although the biotech industry in China remains relatively small, worth around US$302mn per year, it has the second-highest growth rate in the country after traditional Chinese medicines.

The TEDA industrial park was set up in 1984 and was one of the first state-level economic and technological zones established in the country. To date, over 3,300 overseas companies have set up bases in TEDA.