Along with Mainland China, Hong Kong faces adjustment to a different economic climate as growth slows. Both the Financial Secretary and the richest man in Hong Kong have declared that the city is likely to go through a downturn.

Meanwhile, the “missing booksellers” incident has rattled the one country, two systems principle governing relations between Hong Kong and the Mainland, adding to local and international concerns over the city’s future. How confidence will be elevated again currently remains unclear.

Changes in the healthcare market are starting to take place, with the implementation of the competition law, Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/s) regulation, and new vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) environment, and may alter the competitive landscape and business models. In particular, the guidelines for vitamins and glucosamine are already having a significant impact on the market and its major players. In early May, the Hospital Authority held its annual convention.

Among long-term goals and plans, the Authority will seek to further improve its already impressive service record, with substantial investment in facilities, brainpower and, in line with Hong Kong’s rapidly graying population, palliative care. The intention to initiate improvement in home and elderly care is likely to have a large impact on the healthcare industry and be one area to watch. As noted in the last issue of The Market Partner, one of the biggest changes ahead for Hong Kong’s healthcare consumers is the introduction of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) program.

The idea is to create a primary care system enabling private doctors to treat chronically ill patients in order to release some of the strain from public hospitals. The Hospital Authority is now pushing ahead with plans, setting out to expand geographically as well as boost the range of products used and disease areas treated. The full extent of effects on the healthcare industry is still under discussion.