Updated on 12 September 2012
Several countries - China, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore - have emerged as prominent competitors in the Asian clinical trial race.
A closer look at the competition
China has enormous potential, thanks to its huge market. The country also boasts of top-notch research institutions, lower operating costs, a huge treatment-naïve population keen to take part in trials, and access to data for different ethnic groups.
The country has demonstrated a strong commitment to the sector. In 2010, the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration asked domestic companies to increase their R&D investments. The Chinese government also made plans to invest some $1.5 billion in new drug development between 2011 and 2016. During the 2008-09 global financial crisis, China continued to invest in R&D infrastructure, consequently attracting many multinational companies.
Yet China faces some obstacles. For one, English is not widely-spoken. Ethics and regulations are still a murky area and outside of Hong Kong, it is still a lengthy process to obtain clinical trial approvals.