Olympus to expand endoscope biz in Asia

Olympus is building a training center for medical professionals in China and hopes this will help boost sales of endoscope devices in Asia to the tune of US$1.5 billion by 2016.

Olympus hopes to expand its endoscope business in Asia by building a new training center in China and introducing lower cost equipment to the market.

A Nikkei report Wednesday said Olympus hopes to quadruple its endoscope sales in Asia to around 120 billion yen (US$1.5 billion) by 2016. To do so, it will build a new training center for medical professionals in southern China at an estimated cost of between 100 million yen and 1 billion yen (US$1.2 million and US$12 million), it noted.

The training center will be the company's fourth in China, with the other three in Beijing and Shanghai. It is expected to be completed by 2016, the report added.

Olympus hopes the training center will boost the sales of endoscopes as the business is dependent on the number of skilled medical practitioners. Globally, the Japanese company has a 70 percent market share in endoscope equipment.

Nikkei added that Olympus is applying for permits from the Chinese authorities to introduce new endoscopy products into the market. Compared to endoscopy equipment used in developed countries, the new products are simplified and are sold for about one-fourth of the price, the report noted.

The Japanese company has been facing a tough time since 2011 following an accounting scandal which led to significant corporate restructuring and shareholders filing a lawsuit against the company in August this year.