AstraZeneca Renews Investment in China, its Second Largest Market

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AstraZeneca recently announced plans to continue investing in China, the company’s second largest market after the United States, with the construction of a production facility that will serve as its regional headquarters in Qingdao, Shandong.

The plans were announced during the third Qingdao Multinationals Summit. “To further promote the development of Qingdao’s biopharmaceutical industry and contribute to the National Health Vision 2030, AstraZeneca will continue to strengthen its confidence in increasing investment in China,” said Wang Lei, AstraZeneca’s global executive vice president and China president.

China is AstraZeneca’s second-biggest market – around USD 6 billion of the British-Swedish company’s revenues came from China last year, an increase of 12 percent from 2020, according to the annual earnings report.

According to its website, AstraZeneca has invested more than USD 1 billion since entering the Chinese market in 1993. The multinational has its Chinese HQ in Shanghai, and production operations in Wuxia and Taizhou.

The new facility will focus on research and development efforts for rare disease treatments and will include a life science innovation park and an industrial fund. AstraZeneca also said at the summit that it would build a Budigford inhalation aerosol production and supply center in the Qingdao High-tech Industrial Development Zone that will become the company’s second-largest facility in the country.

The news came months after Chinese authorities summoned officials of the company’s Chinese affiliate “regarding an investigation of suspected medical insurance fraud by the company’s employees,” according to Reuters. “The regulator of the state medical insurance fund said authorities ordered the arrest of all suspects but did not give details of the suspected violations or the size of funds involved.”

The investment plan also follows the announcement of AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail for COVID-19 prevention, Evusheld, clearance for use in a medical tourism zone in China’s southern province of Hainan ahead of national approval, Reuters reported.

“We hope that Evusheld becomes available in more countries as soon as possible,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said, without providing details on any further plan for the medicine in China.


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