China's market potential makes US dental companies smile

Updated: 2015-12-02 10:07

By ZHANG YUE in New York(China Daily USA)

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US dental products companies see strong business potential in China and are willing to work through difficulties to enter the market.

That was a common theme among many of the US companies at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, which took place from Nov 27 to Tuesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The conference also included seminars on dental treatment as well as exhibitions. Ten companies from China were represented at the exhibition.

Kevin Levy, sales manager for Start Pure, a California company that produces teeth-whitening devices, said he has always been interested in the Chinese market.

"We have been interested in the Chinese market (from) a long time ago, and we found a distributor for our potential markets in China," Levy said. "But in entering the market, our products get into patent issues, and that was when the distributor turned to Japan. I think things are going better in China now, and we are considering entering the market soon."

Bennett Cochran, sales manager for Cosmedent, a Chicago-based company that makes restorative dental products, said that although the company sees huge market demand in China for dental devices, entrance into the market has not been easy.

"I've been looking at the Chinese market for over 10 years, and we've talked to several potential Chinese distributors in recent years," he said. "But one problem about getting into the Chinese market is that the registration procedure is very time consuming, and thus makes it expensive."

Most of the US dental companies at the exhibition do not have branches in China and sell through distributors.

One inroad for US companies into the Chinese marker is to try to acquire a small company in China, said Wang Yunhua, head of Shenghua Industry Co Ltd, a private company that produces dental-treatment devices in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Wang has worked in the business for more than 20 years and was attending the exhibition for the second time. He said that imported dental devices are much more popular at Chinese hospitals, and they cost almost twice as much. Many of the products on display at the show were made in Europe.

Sandra Trevino-Pelkey, customer relations manager for SS White, a New Jersey dental-device company, said that in the past five years, product sales in China have grown continuously.

"We entered the Chinese market at least 15 years ago, and China has been one of our largest markets," she said.

She said that the company did not have much difficulty with import registration because it has a distributor in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Despite the difficulties, US companies are still confident about business in China, especially about the high-end market, despite a slower economy.

"The demography for those looking for teeth-whitening is always there, and they are always willing to pay the money, even when the economy does not look good," said Levy, from Start Pure.

"China has a very strong economy, and we are actually thinking about entering the market fairly soon," he said. "The important thing is to find good distributors to work with."

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