German firm medi tackles major health risk for travelers

Ni Tao
A leading manufacturers of anti-embolism compression stockings, the company aims to alert the public to the danger of deep vein thrombosis through training, seminars and workshops.
Ni Tao
German firm medi tackles major health risk for travelers

Dirk Treiber, chief executive of medi Gmbh & Co KG, a German health-care goods firm specializing in anti-thrombosis compression stockings

Staying immobile or sitting cross-legged during long-haul flights puts air travelers at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

This conditions refers to a blood clot that forms inside a vein deep in lower leg or thigh. A clot that breaks loose can result in a deadly pulmonary embolism (PE).

Despite sporadic reports attributing premature deaths to DVT and PE, there is a pervasive lack of awareness about the disease in China.

In response, a number of companies have mounted an awareness campaign, with the German health-care firm medi being one of the most assiduous in this endeavor.

"Education is at the forefront of a lot of things we do," Dirk Treiber, chief executive of medi Gmbh & Co KG, told Shanghai Daily in an interview.

The Bayreuth, Bavaria-headquartered company established an institution called medi Campus China during the weekend in Shanghai, which looks to promote information sharing with Chinese physicians on the research of DVT.

One of the world's leading manufacturers of anti-embolism compression stockings, the company says it aims to alert the public to the danger of the disease through on-site training, seminars and workshops targeting physicians.

"The medi campus will support our business here but it will also support the continued spread of information about the disease," says Treiber, who has worked in senior positions at pharmaceutical companies like Novartis Pharma AG.

Medi, which produces a variety of health-care products ranging from knee braces to compression stockings, is riding the wave of social e-commerce and influencer marketing to help drive sales in China.

Influencer marketing has been a go-to strategy for medical equipment businesses as testimonials of key opinion leaders like doctors are considered more convincing in marketing their products and services.

Treiber says he expects the company’s efforts to influence public opinion about phlebological health will translate into customer recognition of its offerings and eventually commercial success.

Since its entry into China three years ago, the businessman says medi has been making strides thanks to a slew of policies the government has put in place to ensure a congenial environment for foreign investors.

Although medical compression stockings is a niche segment, increasing awareness of phlebological health has spurred demand for such products and related services.

According to Global Info Research, a marketing database provider, the worldwide market for compression stockings is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of roughly 6.3 percent over the next five years to reach US$1.79 billion in 2024, from US$1.41 billion in 2019.

Despite the huge market size in China, medi is struggling to stay ahead of the competition through differentiation. “This is key to navigating a ‘highly competitive’ market like China,” says Treiber.

He adds that medi is marketing its products as authentically manufactured in Germany to the "highest standards in knitting and fabrics technology" to woo local consumers, who tend to perceive brands from Germany to be superior in quality.

Treiber concedes that China is not an easy market, but remains confident that medi can build up its presence as it pursues a long-lasting, solid relationship with local healthcare professionals.

"That is the only chance for sustainable business in a dynamic market like China," he says.

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