Asia redefining growth: The commercialization of gene technology has yet to mature
Updated 19:09, 07-Jan-2019
By CGTN’s Global Business
07:43

China's genetic testing market has grown quickly in recent years, thanks to the expansion of the domestic biotech sector and investments from international players. However, the commercialization of gene technology is still premature, according to Maggie Tan, senior adviser at Gaorong Capital.

According to the latest report by IMARC Group, China's genetic testing market capitalization reached 1.43 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Since the establishment of the first genomics company in 1999, demand for genetic testing services in the country has gone up because of the aging population, expanding middle class and investments in the healthcare sector.

The genetic testing market of China /CGTN Photo

The genetic testing market of China /CGTN Photo

“Genetic testing is more like a consumer product. It doesn't fully utilize the power of gene technology. The genetic testing is more like telling you how to change your daily behavior or how to live a healthy life. But that's like less than one percent of the power of gene technology,” Tan said.

Based on her experience, “to customer (2C) business of gene technology” is still far from maturity and the sector has not seen any real successful case in the past two to three years.

“The cost to do a really meaningful test is still very costly. It will take several years for it to really go down. And the result that it can tell you is still very limited. So we don't actually see a ready market yet,” Tan explained.

Maggie Tan, senior adviser at Gaorong Capital /CGTN Photo

Maggie Tan, senior adviser at Gaorong Capital /CGTN Photo

And Tan expected the market to be more mature in the next five years, adding that agriculture industry might be the first one to savor the fruit of gene technology, rather than 2C market.

“I believe the first application [of gene technology] will be in the agriculture industry. Increase yield, make crops more climate changers. That would make the industry more efficient. And compared to 2C market, this application is more fixable and near to us,” she said.