Investing in China’s Wearable Medical Devices Market: Trends and Opportunities

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The wearable medical devices market in China is expanding rapidly, driven by technological advancements, increased health awareness, and supportive government policies. This growth presents significant opportunities for innovation and investment, particularly in diagnostic and therapeutic segments, offering compelling prospects for foreign businesses and investors.

Wearable medical devices, which encompass both consumer-grade wearables like smart watches and medical-grade equipment for continuous monitoring and therapy, play a pivotal role in modern healthcare. The market is poised to expand significantly in the next five years in China, propelled by factors such as an aging population, escalating healthcare costs, and supportive government policies fostering a conducive environment for innovation and market penetration.

The landscape is further enriched by a burgeoning ecosystem of companies, encompassing traditional medical equipment manufacturers and tech giants alike, all vying to capitalize on the sector’s promising future. This convergence of healthcare and technology not only opens new avenues for patient care but also presents compelling opportunities for investors looking to participate in China’s dynamic wearable medical devices market.

In this article, we explore the current landscape of China’s wearable medical devices sector, highlighting emerging trends, investment opportunities, and the pivotal role of technological innovation in shaping the future of healthcare delivery.

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China’s wearable medical devices market overview

Market growth and key segments

The wearable medical devices market in China was valued at US$1.08 billion in 2023 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.5 percent from 2024 to 2030. This rapid growth trajectory underscores the increasing integration of advanced technologies and the rising demand for health monitoring solutions among the Chinese population. The sector is characterized by diverse end-user demand, driven by several industries including hospitals, home care, fitness, and wellness.

The market can be broadly segmented into diagnostic and therapeutic devices, each playing a crucial role in the overall market dynamics.

The diagnostic devices segment led the market with the highest revenue share of 62.14 percent in 2023. This dominance is primarily driven by the increasing prevalence of neurological disorders. There is a growing public awareness of neurological wearables, which can continuously assess cognitive performance during daily activities. This awareness is expected to further boost market growth.

Neurological wearables utilize various sensors—chemical, electromechanical, optical, and electrical—to gather essential health data. This data is processed and analyzed using sophisticated software, enabling continuous monitoring and early detection of neurological issues.

The therapeutic devices segment is projected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period (2024-2030). Several factors contribute to this anticipated growth, including the increasing demand for therapeutic devices, the expansion of manufacturing capabilities, and the need for wearable pain relievers, insulin management devices, and intelligent asthma management products.

This segment is further categorized into devices for pain management, insulin monitoring, rehabilitation, and respiratory treatment, reflecting a wide range of applications. The adoption of therapeutic devices is driven by their ability to provide effective management and treatment of chronic conditions, enhancing patient care and improving quality of life.

Both diagnostic and therapeutic devices leverage advanced technologies to enhance their functionality and efficacy. The integration of sensors and sophisticated software enables these devices to collect, process, and analyze health data efficiently. This technological advancement not only improves the accuracy and reliability of health monitoring but also facilitates the development of innovative solutions tailored to specific health needs.

Main drivers of market expansion

The expansion of China’s wearable medical devices market is driven by several key factors.

Firstly, there is a growing awareness of personal health monitoring among the Chinese population. The rising prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, underscores the need for effective health management solutions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 270 million people in China suffer from hypertension, with only 13.8 percent managing to control their condition. This highlights a significant demand for wearable devices that can aid in better health management.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of wearable medical devices in China. These devices were adapted to measure COVID-19 symptoms, such as temperature, oxygen saturation levels, and breathing rates. The pandemic also spurred investment in the research and development of these devices, positively impacting the sales of medical products related to COVID-19 prevention and management.

In tandem with this growing health awareness, the adoption of advanced technologies is propelling the market forward. Developments in artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enhancing the capabilities of wearable medical devices. For instance, AI integrated with 5G technology can predict patient diagnoses and treatment duration. Notably, in 2021, Apple partnered with Biogen to research the efficacy of mHealth wearable devices in detecting early signs of cognitive impairment. These advancements support the development of remote monitoring and care management systems by healthcare professionals.

Consequently, the sector is witnessing a surge in financial investments, fostering innovation and development. This influx of funding is crucial for the continuous improvement and expansion of wearable medical technology. Increased investment ensures that new and more sophisticated wearable devices are continually brought to market, further driving their adoption. The Chinese Government has also played a pivotal role in raising general health awareness, organizing campaigns and initiatives that have significantly driven demand for wearable medical devices.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan emphasizes building a “Healthy China” by improving healthcare and socioeconomic conditions, thereby supporting market growth. As a result, devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches that monitor various physiological parameters are becoming increasingly popular.

Finally, there is a growing interest in health monitoring among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. This demographic is increasingly adopting wearable devices to track their physical activity and health metrics, contributing to the market’s expansion.

Competitive landscape

The wearable medical devices market in China is characterized by a mix of both local and foreign competitors, with local companies currently holding a strong position. However, the market presents significant opportunities for foreign brands to enter and expand. The rapid growth of the market, driven by increasing health awareness and the adoption of advanced technologies, creates a favorable environment for international companies. Foreign brands can leverage their technological expertise and innovative solutions to capture market share, particularly in segments such as remote health monitoring, AI-integrated devices, and advanced diagnostic tools.

One example of a successful company in the market is CONTEC Medical Systems Co. Ltd., which specializes in the development, production, and marketing of medical diagnostic and monitoring devices. The company’s extensive product line includes devices for blood pressure monitoring, blood oxygen measurement, multi-parameter monitoring, in vitro diagnostics, EEG, respiratory sleep studies, ECG, digital imaging, fetal monitoring, arteriosclerosis detection, telemedicine, and home health management.

Huawei has also acquired a significant presence in China’s wearable medical devices market. It functions both as a product manufacturer and a distributor for international information and communication technologies. Huawei offers a range of technology products, including networking equipment, smartphones, tablets, and mobile internet solutions, catering to fields such as digital health, mHealth applications, and smart healthcare.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is another major player in the wearable medical devices market, leveraging its extensive technological capabilities and resources to innovate in digital health. Tencent’s involvement in the industry includes developing and distributing health-related applications and platforms that integrate seamlessly with wearable technology.

Meanwhile, Cyrcadia Asia Limited focuses on manufacturing innovative wearable devices, particularly designed for the early detection of breast cancer. The company’s technology includes a sensor patch that women can wear beneath their bra for two hours each month. This sensor monitors breast health and detects metabolic changes in the mammary glands associated with cancer.

Thalys Medical Technology Inc. is a provider of early-stage medical intensive care. The company specializes in research and development, manufacturing, and sales of autonomous in vitro diagnostic goods and intense marketing services for medical testing and agents for in vitro diagnostic products. Its in-service medical inspection-heavy marketing and services provide the lion’s share of income.

Other notable participants in the market include:

  • Wuhan UN-Medical Technology Co. Ltd.: Known for its contributions to wearable medical technologies and innovative healthcare solutions.
  • Xiaomi Technologies: A major player in the consumer electronics market, Xiaomi also produces popular wearable medical devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers.
  • Omron Corporation: Specializes in producing healthcare and medical devices, including wearable technologies for monitoring vital signs.
  • Abbott Laboratories Shanghai Co. Ltd.: Focuses on producing a wide range of medical devices, including innovative wearable technologies.
  • Medtronic: Known for its advanced medical technology and devices, Medtronic has a significant presence in the wearable medical devices market.
  • Apple, Inc.: A global leader in technology, Apple’s wearables like the Apple Watch have made significant inroads into the medical devices market with features for health monitoring.

Regulatory landscape

Medical devices in China are subject to classified management: medical devices are divided into three classes based on the level of risk they present to patients or users. Class I is the lowest-risk class and is subject to record-filing management, which is comparatively easier, and Class II and Class III are the higher-risk classes and are subject to product registration management, which involves a longer and more rigorous process. Most wearable medical devices fall in the Class II medical devices category, with few subject to Class III management.

Upon registration, the business will obtain a Medical Device Registration Certificate for relevant Class II and Class III medical devices. Also, businesses will need to file a record with local NMPAs for trading Class II medical devices while they need to obtain approval for trading Class III medical devices.

Accordingly, to import and sell medical devices in China, foreign manufacturers must obtain a Medical Device Registration Certificate (MDRC) from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), previously known as the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). This certificate is owned by the foreign manufacturer but controlled by the Legal Agent listed on it, who is responsible for the registration application. The device must have approval from its home country before applying for registration in China. The registration certificate is valid for 5 years.

To renew the registration, manufacturers must submit a renewal application 6 months before expiration. This can be done online through the Electronic Regulated Product Submission (eRPS) system.

Trends and opportunities in China’s wearable medical devices market

Shift from manufacturer to service provider role

Currently, wearable medical devices in China primarily focus on data collection and basic analysis. However, there is significant untapped potential in leveraging this data for comprehensive mobile healthcare solutions. Wearable devices could serve as gateways to virtual healthcare platforms, where patients interact remotely with doctors who use the data for diagnoses and prescriptions.

Foreign investors can capitalize on this by supporting the development of integrated healthcare ecosystems that connect patients, healthcare professionals, and data analytics, thereby enhancing personalized and value-added services.

Appealing neuropathy market

With increasing competition in traditional vital sign monitoring wearables, there’s a burgeoning interest in neuropathy-focused solutions for conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Many startups are innovating in this space, such as Canadian firm Steadiwea, which has developed a glove to reduce hand tremors in Parkinson’s patients.

Additionally, U.S.-based BrainsWay offers FDA-approved non-invasive treatments using electromagnetic fields for conditions like major depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

These advancements present lucrative opportunities for foreign investors to collaborate with Chinese companies in developing and commercializing advanced neurology-focused wearable technologies.

Digital health and big data analytics

The convergence of wearable devices and big data analytics in China is poised to revolutionize healthcare delivery. There’s a growing demand for more accurate and specialized wearable products that empower patients with real-time diagnostics and treatment options.

Foreign investors can leverage this trend by partnering with local entities to foster innovation in wearable technology, establish collaborative models with hospitals and service providers, and integrate solutions that enhance patient outcomes and healthcare accessibility

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Dezan Shira & Associates assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Haikou, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. We also have offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Dubai (UAE) and partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Australia. For assistance in China, please contact the firm at or visit our website at