We chatted recently in Hong Kong SAR with senior people in the Boehringer Ingelheim Company. We met with Stephan Lange, Vice President for Animal Health in China and Xu Lin, Business Development Manager for China.
Boehringer Ingelheim(BI) is the largest family-owned multi-national company operating globally in animal health products, including vaccines and pharmaceuticals. Boehringer has large Research and Development laboratories in the USA, Germany and China, developing new vaccines and other modern technology products for the pig industry. The Boehringer has a strong tradition of bringing new and innovative products with great benefits to the global pig farming industry, such as its PRRS, PCV and ileitis vaccines, many of which are Asian and global success stories.Inside China however, the proportion of the market taken by Boehringer and other large multi-national companies is still quite low, at only around 10 % of the total market share. In 2016, the 90% of the market share is taken up by the total of 1,843 Chinese animal health companies, of which 101 are vaccine companies.
When asked about likely future trends for the pig industry in Asia, Stephan and Xu indicated that Boehringer sees the major shifts in the Chinese industry towards consolidation into larger farm enter prises.Many of these companies are now moving away from the traditional pig-denselocations around Shanghai and Beijing, towards locations in central and northern China. They predicted that within 10 years, 8 out of the top 10 pig production companies in the world will be located inside China.This rapid growth in the Chinese pig industry has created its own problems, with a need for management oversight of the operational details by more new and well-trained technical managers on these farms.
They also see shifts in Chinese and Asian pig industry away from the rapeutic products, towards products aimed at prevention,such as more vaccine usage. They do note some on-going problems in this increased usage of vaccines in the Chinese pig industry, in terms of variable methods for delivery of vaccines from the manufacturer to the end usage in pigs.They also note the limited usage of standard research and diagnostic tools in the Chinese industry, such as controlled animal trials and serology, which may impact the usefulness of these new vaccines.
They also see a major trend in the way that companies like Boehringer interact and engage and inform people in the pig industry in China. They increasingly use digital technology such as WeChat and other digital forums, like pig333.cn, to provide strong data and information on animal health and nutrition. Boehringer is making major investments in digital infrastructure to keep a close and direct connection to the pig industry and its people. There is currently only limited data on the sales and performance of the 1,843 Chinese animal health companies, so the new digital technology can offer people in the Chinese industry a useful method to develop market research.