#6 What Will It Take for Korean HealthTech to Break into Global Leadership?

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KIMES to Become Catalyst of Korean Expansion Globally in 2021, After Canceling This Year’s Event Due to Coronavirus

The international medical industry is booming because as the population gets older, it requires more healthcare, not to mention the investments made in relation to COVID-19. More money is being spent on healthcare by all nations, now more than ever before, with the U.S. leading at over $10,200 spent per person (pre-COVID-19). It’s no surprise that HealthTech is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world: in the U.S., for example, healthcare and HealthTech are not only the fastest-growing but also the most lucrative industries, with the profit margins ranked at #4 and #1, respectively, in the U.S. market (2019).

The American Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that by 2028, such costs will climb to $6.2 trillion, or about $18,000 per person, and will represent about 20 percent of GDP.

Who will fulfill all this spending?

Korea is the best positioned to benefit from this trend and growth—it has the best medicine among developed countries, the best high-tech workforce, automated manufacturing, and the best innovations in wellness and HealthTech, as we have seen at CES2020.

How can Korean innovators lead the HealthTech revolution and benefit from this rare global/ U.S. profit opportunity? 

One, but not the only, growth vehicle is exhibiting at trade shows. Where can HealthTech manufacturers exhibit to increase awareness about their products and acquire new leads? There are three mega healthcare shows—Medica in Germany, China Health in China, and Arab Health in Dubai—that lead the industry. And there is KIMES (Korea International Medical & Hospital Equipment Show) in Korea, as well as FIME (Florida International Medical Expo) and HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) in the U.S.

Among all these trade shows, KIMES is the most valuable medical trade show, if you count the number of visitors per exhibitor: 61 compared to 25 at Medica, 29 at China Health and 21 at Arab Health. Yes, for exhibitors, being at KIMES is over two times more valuable than attending any other medical trade show. In part, this is thanks to the nominal $8 entry fee. Now, KIMES is not the largest show: it attracts 73,000 visitors and 1,200 exhibitors compared to 123,000 and 5,000 at Medica, respectively, but we believe that it has the potential to grow bigger and become the center of Asian and global HealthTech innovation. 

KIMES foreign visitors rave about how innovative Korean manufacturers are and how the products are great. Yet there is this known barrier for mid-sized and small Korean manufacturers penetrating global markets. We see it again and again—innovative Korean products surpass competitive offerings but make little progress in global sales. What is missing? Frequently, Korean manufacturers are local market-oriented and lack global understanding and global GTM know-how. Sometimes, it’s as simple as not being advanced in English that prevents a great innovator from winning in the U.S. and global markets.

There is more to be done by the KIMES trade show to ensure more wins for Korean exhibitors next year. Having seen all the global trade shows, we are confident that there is a big potential for KIMES to increase exhibitor success via special programs in 2021. 

One high-potential program could be fostering a greater alignment of the Korean manufacturers with the U.S. market trends and needs, as the largest market in the world, by starting early in the innovation cycle. The fastest growing and the most profitable, the U.S. market is worth being creative for. Clever self-promotion and more successful exhibitors can boost KIMES into joining the ranks of mega shows and Korea into the global center of HealthTech innovation. 

KIMES can become one of the driving forces behind Korean HealthTech, meeting the needs of and leading on the booming global and U.S. markets. There are more levers that need to be activated, KIMES is one of the easiest to push.