China is Reopening, But Do Medical Device OEMs and CMOs Still Care?

The sector cannot totally turn its back on China—it’s too important of a market to overlook.

Last fall, column co-author Dave Sheppard moderated a nearshoring panel discussion at the MPO Summit in Austin, Texas (“Shifting Manufacturing: Is Nearshoring the Answer for MedTech?”). Just weeks later, China began re-opening for business. Coincidence? Maybe, though it would be nice to imagine that MPO’s influence in the global OEM/contract manufacturing (CM)/contract development manufacturing (CDM) marketplace and the supply chain had something to do with it.

Obviously, this topic was chosen for the Summit in light of the supply chain’s pandemic-induced shifting dynamics. An elite group of panelists with different insights participated in the discussion; key executives from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States shared shared their perspectives on the purported manufacturing shift from Asia to either the United States or nearby Central American countries.

Yarisol Lopez, deputy executive director for the Dominican Republic’s National Free Zones Council, said her country is experiencing “record growth” in new manufacturing, especially in medtech. From 2019 to 2022, she reported, exports climbed 16%-17%, and the number of companies swelled by 9%. “We have seen interest not only in medical device manufacturing and services in general, but also from companies in the U.S. and Asia,” Lopez told the audience. “Companies in Asia want to come here because of the (proximity) to the U.S. market.”