Economic Boost: German medical firm to continue China investment
By Wu Lei

Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the largest family-owned pharmaceutical companies in the world based in Germany, said withdrawing production lines from China would not be wise during COVID-19.

The company, which entered the Chinese market 25 years ago, just opened a new digital lab in Shanghai this March with an initial investment of three million euros. 

There is such a good eco-system in China for digital development because Chinese patients and customers are very open and receptive of digital solutions, Boehringer Ingelheim CFO Arjan Van Der Oort told CGTN. 

With such an environment, the company will be able to have groundbreaking solutions, he added.

Some worry that the COVID-19 may affect the supply chain of multinational companies, Arjan said this is not his company's concerns. 

"If any country has proven to be able to tackle this crisis, it would be China, so I don't think it would be wise to take productions or supply out of China," he said. 

Arjan said the company's long term vision in China hasn't changed because of COVID-19. They will stick to their vision, and continue their plan and investment in China.

As China welcomes more global pharmaceutical companies, Arjan said they also welcome more competitors coming into the market, because that means that there will be more smart minds looking at healthcare solutions. 

CGTN interviews Boehringer Ingelheim CFO Arjan Van Der Oort (L). /CGTN

CGTN interviews Boehringer Ingelheim CFO Arjan Van Der Oort (L). /CGTN

Global collaboration can find solution

Although Boehringer Ingelheim is not producing any vaccines, the company do have expertise available to the scientific community that is looking for cures for COVID-19, said Arjan. 

He said the company has knowledge about antibodies and some specific scientists that they can avail and is connected to the larger scientific community.

"There is no individual country that can find a solution by itself.  It has now become a pandemic, a global problem, that needs to be addressed on a global level. And I am really happy to see that at least the scientific community is collaborating on the global level already."

Embracing Healthy China 2030 initiative

If there is one thing that people can learn from the epidemic, it is to pay more attention to their personal care and public health. 

Arjan said they have a clear vision of where they want to be as a company in 10 years' time. And the vision is very much in line with Chinese government vision of healthy China 2030.

In 2016, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's cabinet, released the "Healthy China 2030" blueprint, which covered areas such as public health services, environment management, the medical industry and food and drug safety. 

In 2019, the State Council issued a new guideline to implement the country's Healthy China initiative. With a focus on disease prevention and health promotion, the guideline proposed 15 special campaigns to "intervene in health influencing factors, protect full-life-cycle health and prevent and control major diseases."