In pharmaceutical research facilities across China, legions of scientists are tirelessly working to compete with their counterparts in the West on everything from genetic engineering to revolutionary cancer treatments.

Boosted by the Communist Party, which aims to put China in the forefront of global pharmaceutical research,  and private investors attracted to the sector’s huge growth potential, Chinese firms are extremely optimistic. China is the second-largest pharmaceutical market after the United States, and there is plenty of room to grow.

Venture capital investment in the country’s health-
care sector rose from $1 billion in 2013 to $11.7 billion in 2017,
according to McKinsey & Co.

With cancer, heart disease and diabetes rates rising, domestic pharmaceutical sales are expected to hit  $175 billion by 2022

“There’s a belief here that we can compare with anyone
anywhere in the world,” John Oyler, CEO of BeiGene, a biotech company. told Bloomberg. “When the government turns and says, ‘Let’s make sure this industry grows properly in China,’ you wind up with global leaders.”

With cancer, heart disease and diabetes rates rising, domestic pharmaceutical sales are expected to hit  $175 billion by 2022, according to researcher Iqvia Holdings.

Chinese companies like BeiGene aim to take market share away from global pharmaceutical manufacturers, which have traditionally dominated local sales. If they succeed in competing on the domestic front, they will attempt to expand into foreign markets.

This initiative will be facilitated by the government’s decision
in 2015 to amend rules that had discouraged innovation and slowed the approval process. New drugs can now reach the market much more quickly.

Under Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, which aims to
upgrade China’s manufacturing sector, pharmaceutical firms expect to develop new targeted therapies, antibodies and vaccines, as well as make breakthroughs in stem-cell research.