China's medical rehabilitation robot market is expected to embrace rapid development, supported by favorable policies and technological advancement, a recent report said.
A report from consultancy Frost& Sullivan said the nation's medical rehabilitation robot market is expected to reach 2.04 billion yuan ($296.7 million) this year and 7.95 billion yuan by 2026, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 57.5 percent.
The market scale in China was 210 million yuan in 2018.
Capital flow into the sector is also increasing. According to VBData.cn, a Chongqing-based healthcare services platform, there were 10 investment deals in 2022 in the country's medical rehabilitation sector, a record high.
By the end of March, there have been three, with the total value surpassing 200 million yuan and setting a new record in terms of quarterly investment numbers and value.
"In an aging society, China's rehabilitation sector has entered a stage of explosive growth. The current market concentration ratio is low and the industry potential awaits further development," said VBData.cn analyst Cui Lulu.
Between 2015 and 2023, the government launched a series of policies to boost the development of rehabilitation robots, including supporting relevant research and development, promoting technological development, allocating resources for rehabilitation centers and formulating standards of rehabilitation treatment.
Data from international journal The Lancet Public Health show that there are more than 460 million people in China with rehabilitation demands, including the elderly, the postoperative and those with chronic disease and disabilities, but supply is still incapable of meeting demand.
For instance, according to the China Health Statistics Yearbook, there were 49,000 rehabilitation healthcare professionals in China in 2020, accounting for only 1.2 percent of the total healthcare professionals in the country.
This is attracting more domestic companies to ramp up R&D efforts in medical rehabilitation robots.
Hangzhou, Zhejiang province-based Angelexo develops rehabilitation robots for patients with hemiplegia. Shanghai Siyi Intelligence Technology Co Ltd launched a robot based on a brain-computer interface that collects and records brain signals in real time and converts the signals into motion instructions to assist patient mobility.
Shanghai Bangbang Robotics developed movement-assisting robots that can help disabled individuals with mobility difficulties to stay at home more comfortably, as well as travel-assisting robots that can help those with mobility challenges complete safe and stable travel.
"With society aging faster, the demand for rehabilitation robots is expected to continue to grow," Cui said.
To realize sustainable development, Cui said firms should focus on technological innovation and product differentiation, raise product performance and quality, and improve market competitiveness.
"Meanwhile, enterprises should work with hospitals and rehabilitation institutions, learn more about market demand and user feedback, and constantly optimize their products and services," she said.