The market for medical equipment in Singapore expanded significantly in recent years. Singapore’s economic recovery accounted for much of the improvement. Medical device imports increased from US$412 million in 1999 to US$496 million in 2000 and are expected to rise further (final 2001 figures are not yet available). In 2000, the U.S. was the leading exporter of medical devices to Singapore, accounting for 37% of the market (US$187 million), while Japan earned 17% market share (US$86 million). The U.S. is expected to continue to dominate the market for the next few years, despite growing competition from high quality, competitively priced products from Japan.
In addition to exporting medical devices to Singapore, many U.S. medical companies are investing directly in the country. For example, medical technology manufacturer BD (formerly known as Becton Dickinson) opened a Research & Development hub in Singapore in 1999. In January 2001, Agilent Technologies opened a manufacturing plant for healthcare products, including ultrasound imaging equipment and defibrillators. Products will be shipped worldwide. Companies like Baxter, 3M, Applied Biosystems, and Siemens Medical Instruments also use Singapore as an R&D hub, manufacturing site, and/or as their regional headquarters. Many companies consider Singapore a prime location for manufacturing due to the accessibility of trained engineers, research institutes, and its position as a key hub for Asia.