Privately-owned companies such as Shenzhen Kangtai, Beijing Sinovac, Changchun Changsheng, and Zhejiang Tianyuan have been
actively involved in charged vaccine manufacturing since the early 1990s. These companies are becoming very competitive because
of their flexible capital advantages and market awareness. Sinovac, for example, has taken the lead in developing vaccines
for SARS and avian flu.
Because the Chinese government restricts foreign companies to set up vaccine manufacturing facilities or even seek Chinese
contract manufacturing partners, so far, only two foreign vaccine manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline, have
established repacking facilities in China. Other major vaccine importers include Merck and Chiron (Novartis Vaccine). Also,
Pfizer is planning to enter the Chinese vaccine market after acquiring PowderMed in 2006.
Table 2 and Table 3 summarize vaccine manufacturers and products in China. Table 4 lists the major pipeline products.2
In the current Chinese market, domestic products completely control the planned immunization vaccine market. Foreign companies
are only permitted to be involved in the charged vaccine market. This has restricted the imported products market, which accounts
for only 10% of the business. In terms of single product share, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rabies, and influenza vaccines have
the chunk of the market share in China. China's current vaccine market size is RMB 3 billion ($388 million) and is expected
to reach RMB 10–15 billion ($1.3 billion–1.9 billion) by 2010, based on market growth trends.1 The market perspective is very promising.
Chinese domestic vaccine manufacturers are now facing challenges as a growing number of imported products are entering the
market. Domestic vaccines have dominated the Chinese market for decades, thanks to government protection and lower prices.
However, the vaccine market competition is now transferring from the former price-competition model to a technology-competition
model. The question posed in China today is how competitive are its domestic vaccine manufacturers compared with the multinational
"Which other country (than China) in the world would be able to satisfy the needs of vaccines for 1.3 billion people?" asked
Dr. Weidong Yin, CEO of Sinovac Biotech. "Only we Chinese people can help ourselves. We will master core technologies and
protect national security and public health...to prevent public crisis such as pandemic influenza, the key is to develop Chinese-owned
vaccine products." As a young biotech player, Sinovac has impressed the industry by its achievements in developing China's
first hepatitis A vaccine, the world's second combined hepatitis A and B vaccine, and the world's first SARS vaccine.
Given the demographics, healthcare policy, and national needs, we believe there is a promising future for the Chinese vaccine
Eliza Yibing Zhou is project director for research programs on China and India, BioPlan Associates, 307.921.9074, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Liu JY, Wang N. Vaccines in China. Advances in Biopharmaceutical Technology in China. BioPlan Associates, Inc. and Society
for Industrial Microbiology. 2006; 9:22.
2. Wang J. Small vaccines contain big market (in Chinese). Guide of China Medicine. 2005;12:98-99.