Solid economies, burgeoning consumerism and increasing wealth are luring
orthopedic manufacturers to emerging markets, but long-term success is not
Michael Barbella • Managing Editor
Brian S. Moore never truly subscribed to all the hype sur- rounding emerging markets. During his tenure as CEO and president of Symmetry Medical Inc., Moore was peppered
with unsolicited advice about long-term growth prospects on the
other side of the world.
“Three or four years ago, people were saying, ‘You’ve got to go
to China.’Every time I went on the road as CEO, one of the first
questions I was asked was‘What are your plans for China?” recounted Moore, who spent seven years as Symmetry’s chief executive before retiring in January 2011 (he remained with the
Warsaw, Ind.-based company through June 2012, serving as a
board member and president of business development).
“It was like mass hypnosis—for a period of time everybody has
to be in China. But it’s never as clear-cut as the mass conscious
would have you believe,” he noted.“Some people have to get in,
some don’t. It’s not automatic that every business in every situation must go to every emerging market. It doesn’t work like that
at all. It’s not a situation where you absolutely have to go to China
no matter what. I would always respond to that kind of thinking
by asking ‘Why?’There might be a good reason to go [to China].
If there is, then you should certainly go. But if there’s not a very
good reason, then you need to ask yourself why you should go.“
While industry analysts expect the sagging U.S. and European
orthopedic device markets to improve this year due to new product introductions, restructuring initiatives and share buyback programs, sales still are projected to trail those in Asia and Latin
America for the next few years. Data from Los Angeles, Calif.-based industry research firm IBISWorld show the orthopedic
device market in Asia/Pacific doubling the growth rate of North
America through 2015 ( 9. 8 percent vs. 4. 9 percent). The Cen-tral/South American market is forecast to surge past its northern
neighbor as well, rising 6. 9 percent to $800 million.
Much of the Asia/Pacific growth is likely to come from China,
where the number of orthopedic procedures is expected to swell
18.2 percent annually through 2015, according to an Elsevier Busi-
ness Intelligence report. Joint replacements in the Middle King-
dom are forecast to grow 17. 4 percent annually to 454,581 in 2015,
while fracture management/repair procedures are estimated to
skyrocket 25.2 percent to 1 million procedures. Disc/bone removals
and spinal fusions also are projected to grow by double-digit rates.
54 • ODT