VINNO, Tian Yuan: Chinese Speed and Innovation Lead the Medical Device Industry

Healthcare Author: EqualOcean News Editor: Jiaqi Li May 09, 2024 12:40 PM (GMT+8)

In 2024, nearly all medical enterprises are exploring overseas markets. This trend is driven by an anti-corruption wave within the medical industry, the demand for financing and initial public offerings, as well as challenges such as excess production capacity. Presently, venturing abroad has become an essential developmental path for medical device enterprises. Successfully entering foreign markets is not only a crucial means for the medical industry to achieve a second grow


On the afternoon of April 3, 2024, the "Hongqiao Going Global Salon" - the second forum on the internationalization of Chinese medical devices, was successfully held in Donghongqiao, Shanghai. The event was organized by the Shanghai Changning District Business Commission, guided by the Donghongqiao Development Office of Changning District, and hosted by the global new think tank EqualOcean, jointly organized by Haoyue Capital and HiHunt Technology. Several heavyweight guests participated in the offline forum to engage in in-depth discussions, collectively exploring the current status and future of Chinese medical device enterprises going global.

During the first roundtable meeting, hosted by EqualOcean's senior analyst, Chen Di, discussions were held on the theme "Is the international expansion of medical device enterprises an opportunity or a necessity for survival?" Invited guests included Chen Kai, Executive Director of AstraZeneca China, Lynne Wu, CFO of PULNOVO Medical, Zhang Hui, Founder of IntoCare, Tian Yuan, Co-founder of VINNO, and Wang Xiaoqi, Partner of Robo CT Technology.

Below is the speech by Tian Yuan, co-founder of VINNO, as edited and released by EqualOcean:

Thank you very much for the invitation from the organizers. It is an honor to share our story with everyone here. Since our establishment in 2010, VINNO has experienced fourteen years of growth and dedication in the field of medical imaging and ultrasound. Since 2014, we have embarked on a global sales journey, and now we are entering our tenth year.

The competition in the ultrasound field is fierce, with international leading companies in medical imaging such as GE, and strong domestic competitors like Merry. In such an environment, we couldn't help but ponder: What is the significance of VINNO's existence? Can we bring some unique value to this industry? This was our original intention in entrepreneurship and continues to be our driving force. Our motto is "Innovation, Enhancing Quality of Life," and innovation has always been the core we adhere to.

In terms of our international strategy, since 2014, we have simultaneously expanded into both overseas and domestic markets. We first set our sights on Europe and successfully entered this mature and highly competitive market. To date, our products and services have reached over 120 countries worldwide. Although our scale in international business is still relatively small, our footprint is extensive. This is closely related to the field we are in; ultrasound, as a popular category, attracts significant attention in the current international market.

Today, I am delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with everyone our initial considerations, the challenges we have faced, and our outlook for the future in our international expansion process. I look forward to in-depth exchanges with all of you, contributing wisdom and strength to the development of the medical imaging industry.


EqualOcean: The global pandemic has led to an increase in medical demand. Chinese medical devices face a series of challenges and opportunities. We are eager to hear Tian Yuan's insights, especially regarding the development trends of the medical device industry in the coming years, and how Chinese medical device companies should adjust their strategies to cope with the constantly changing market environment and maintain or enhance their competitiveness in the international market.

During VINNO's early stages, we also faced intense global market competition. As a startup, choosing the right strategic layout in the global market with limited capabilities was a challenge we had to confront.

We chose the European market as our first international destination, mainly considering the maturity of the European market and its leading role in the global market. Specifically, Germany and France became our initial targets for international expansion. However, this process was full of challenges. In 2013 and 2014, the general impression of Chinese medical device brands internationally was that they were of low quality and cheap, lacking long-term vision and innovation. When we attempted to enter the German market, despite our products receiving high praise from experts, the "Made in China" label still led to skepticism. Many customers would inquire whether our products were "made in China" or "designed in China," with the latter representing backwardness and low quality in their eyes."

In the face of such challenges, we chose to persevere. By consistently participating in international exhibitions, such as the Düsseldorf trade fair, we gradually gained the trust of distributors. They observed our company's annual launch of new products, continuous progress, and enduring presence. This led them to believe that we are a brand with long-term development potential. Simultaneously, we deeply understand that in developed countries like Europe, the distributor system is very stable, and they are more inclined to establish solid relationships with partners who can cooperate and grow together in the long term.

Therefore, when seeking partners, we place greater emphasis on smaller distributors that align with our philosophy and can grow together with us. Through long-term cooperation and the accumulation of trust, we have established profound partnerships with some distributors. Even during the pandemic, when many medical device companies faced challenges, we were still able to grow against the odds, primarily due to our long-standing trust-based relationships with distributors.

As our company has developed and our product competitiveness has increased, our strategy has also evolved. Moving from the initial mid-to-low-end market to the high-end market, we need to conduct market education, brand promotion, and academic outreach. We collaborate with global key opinion leaders (KOLs) and publish articles in top global journals to enhance our brand influence and product visibility.

Throughout this process, our steadfast commitment has been to build a mid-to-high-end brand. To achieve this goal, we unhesitatingly increased our investment in research and development. Despite the relatively small size of our company, our R&D investment far exceeds the industry average. We firmly believe that only through continuous innovation and R&D investment can we challenge the global market and achieve our objectives.

Reflecting on the past decade, we are deeply moved. From the initial challenging start to the current steady development, we deeply understand the importance of long-term thinking. Only through long-term perseverance and accumulation can we establish ourselves in the global market and achieve success. At the same time, we are grateful for the trust and support of all our partners and clients. It is your companionship that propels us forward. In the future, we will continue to adhere to the principles of innovation and quality supremacy, striving to become a leader in the global medical imaging field.

EqualOcean: In the promotion of the global medical device industry, we are more focused on the challenges that Chinese medical device companies face in the international market. We have two small questions for Tian Yuan. The first is, who are the main competitors of Chinese medical device companies in the international market? Considering the diversification of the global market, what kind of competitive strategies should these companies adopt for different markets? Are there any other competitive strategies you can share? The second question is, what unique challenges do small-scale medical companies encounter in the international market?

For Chinese companies, a major core competitive advantage lies in "Chinese speed," which is reflected in our overall speed and efficiency, far exceeding the international average. Additionally, the efforts and diligence of Chinese enterprises are also our strengths, enabling us to respond more quickly to market demands and competitive situations.

However, we are acutely aware that speed and diligence alone are far from sufficient. Therefore, we have always regarded innovation as the core driving force of our development. Innovation here does not necessarily have to be revolutionary, as revolutionary innovation often takes time. Even small innovations, as long as they are based on a profound understanding of the industry and a precise grasp of customer needs, can bring value and become key points that impress customers.

We have adopted the design concept of "creating the simplest-to-use ultrasound globally" and were the first to use capacitive touch screen technology in ultrasound equipment in 2012. Although this type of screen was costly and had a low yield at the time, we believed that its simple and user-friendly features could provide a better experience for users. Just as the simplicity and ease of use of the iPhone quickly opened up the market, we also hope that our ultrasound equipment can become a valuable assistant for doctors, helping them work more efficiently.

In the realms of digitalization and artificial intelligence, we have been keeping pace with the times by establishing a dedicated AI department seven years ago. Leveraging China's vast data resources and diverse case types, we have provided outstanding AI functionalities for ultrasound applications. These functionalities have not only enhanced the performance of our equipment but have also delivered a more convenient and precise diagnostic experience for users.

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Simultaneously, we recognize the substantial differences in demand across various markets. Therefore, during our overseas expansion, we have formulated distinct strategies based on the characteristics of each market. For instance, in the European market, we have promoted products from our traditional departments, while in the South American market, we have introduced products with a more fashionable appeal. Through close collaboration with local partners, we have gained in-depth understanding of local customer needs and preferences, translating these insights into the features and characteristics of our products.

During the initial phase of international expansion, we recommend that companies select markets that align most closely with their core competencies as entry points. This approach allows for better utilization of internal resources, thereby enhancing market competitiveness. After achieving success in one market, gradual expansion into others can be pursued to achieve a global presence.

In summary, Chinese enterprises should fully leverage their agility and diligence during the international expansion process, while also emphasizing innovation and quality improvement. By deeply understanding the differences in demand across various markets and devising targeted market strategies, companies can continually enhance their core competencies and achieve the goal of global development.

EqualOcean: VINNO has entered markets in more than 120 countries. How will VINNO utilize its advantages and capabilities to meet the demands of different markets? What internationalization challenges are currently being faced?

The development prospects in our field of ultrasound are remarkable. Not only is there continuous expansion in technical depth, but there is also a shift towards diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Additionally, there is significant potential for exploration in emerging fields such as neuroscience. This innovative trend foreshadows the future of next-generation technologies. Presently, we are on the same starting line as our competitors. At this stage, close collaboration with clinical entities is pivotal. The ability to swiftly apply new technologies to clinical practice and ultimately transform them into the standards and methods of next-generation diagnosis and treatment will determine who has the opportunity to shift from industry followers to leaders.

First and foremost, collaboration with domestic hospitals is crucial. China boasts numerous outstanding clinical experts who wield significant influence in the field of ultrasound. Chinese contributions hold a notable position in global ultrasound academic literature, reflecting the professional competence and diligence of Chinese physicians. Therefore, close collaboration with Chinese physicians to collectively drive innovation and clinical application of ultrasound technology is a crucial direction for establishing industry standards and clinical norms.

Furthermore, ultrasound, as a non-invasive and widely applicable medical technology, holds immense market potential. Our goal is to make ultrasound technology as commonplace as a blood pressure monitor, achieving portability and ubiquity. Although handheld ultrasound has been available for years, its widespread adoption has been hindered primarily due to incomplete technology. However, with the continuous development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, we have the opportunity to truly integrate ultrasound services into people's lives. This represents a significant opportunity in the global market.

In this race, we need to rely on forward-looking understanding of the future, rich industry experience, and advanced technology to collaboratively develop products that suit market demands with our partners. Truly innovative and popular products not only require technological breakthroughs but also must meet actual clinical and market needs. Through continuous innovation and practice, we aim to create leading ultrasound products in the global market.

However, opportunities and challenges coexist. As our overseas business continues to expand, development bottlenecks are gradually becoming apparent. In the past few years, we have maintained nearly 50% rapid growth annually, but this momentum has noticeably slowed since last year. Faced with this challenge, we need to seek new growth points and overcome development bottlenecks. Only through continuous innovation and market expansion can we maintain sustained growth and have the opportunity to become one of the world's finest companies in new fields. Otherwise, we may only remain in the Chinese market and miss out on global opportunities.

EqualOcean: Finally, what are your expectations for the internationalization process of medical devices in 2024 and beyond? What are the prospects for the entire Chinese medical device industry?

Regarding the development plan for 2024, our company has set a specific goal: in overseas markets, we will gradually shift from primarily participating in exhibitions as an organization to participating in and hosting academic conferences. This transition aims to further enhance our brand's global visibility and influence while strengthening in-depth communication and collaboration with industry experts and partners.

In the past year, we have successfully organized an academic conference named the "Eurasian Ultrasound Forum," exclusively hosted by our company, which welcomed 100 local partners from Europe and Asia. Last year, we held two forums in Turkey and Brazil, both of which yielded significant results. Through these forums, we showcased our latest technological advancements in the field of ultrasound, receiving high recognition and praise from attendees. Many expressed that our new technologies hold significant value and meaning for clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, in 2024, we will continue to deepen this strategy, devoting more energy and resources to hosting and participating in academic conferences. We will actively seek collaboration and exchange with ultrasound experts, scholars, and clinical practitioners globally to collectively drive innovation and development in ultrasound technology. Simultaneously, through these academic conferences, we aim to showcase our achievements and progress in the field of ultrasound on a global scale, enhancing the visibility and influence of our brand.

We believe that through this shift, we can establish closer collaborative relationships with global partners, collectively promoting the widespread adoption and application of ultrasound technology worldwide. Additionally, we aim to use this opportunity to further expand our presence in overseas markets, ensuring that more patients benefit from our technology and products. This stands as one of our company's significant plans for 2024, and we are fully committed to striving towards achieving this goal.


About the ⎡2024 Globalization Forum for Going Global - Shenzhen Summit⎦

Hosted by EqualOcean, the "2024 Globalization Forum for Going Global - Shenzhen Summit" is scheduled to be held in mid-June 2024, with an expected scale of over 3000 attendees for a 3-day event. In addition to regular conferences, there will be award ceremonies, social banquets, overseas entrepreneurial project roadshows, and exhibitions of overseas products. Like the "Two Sessions" for international expansion, EqualOcean's mid-year event in Shenzhen and end-of-year event in Shanghai are not to be missed. We welcome inquiries for cooperation.



About EqualOcean

EqualOcean is a new type of think tank and core resource connector dedicated to serving Chinese companies in their global expansion and assisting overseas companies or institutions in seizing development opportunities in China. With a mission of "connecting China with the world," EqualOcean's core strengths lie in having the strongest team in the industry, connecting official and non-official channels, bridging the gap between technology, the internet, and "traditional industries," and possessing a global vision and global resource network.

Established in November 2018, EqualOcean currently operates top-tier media, think tank, community organizations, and event products, providing in-depth reporting and analysis in both Chinese and English, global strategic consulting, overseas market research, benchmark study camps for going global, overseas study camps, international conferences, and closed-door meetings for international expansion, among other services. Those interested in EqualOcean's products and services are welcome to contact EqualOcean staff.

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