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Healthcare looking in good shape
The Communist Party of China is holding its 19th National Congress in Beijing. China Daily asked business leaders from major multinational companies for their views on economic developments here and the country's global leadership role.

China Daily 2017-10-20

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Alex Gorsky, global CEO of Johnson & Johnson

Alex Gorsky is the global CEO of Johnson & Johnson, the multinational healthcare group based in the United States.

What do you feel has been China's biggest achievement during the past five years and its most notable change?

The government's achievements in expanding healthcare have been remarkable. Since the launch of (deepened) reforms in 2009, China has substantially increased investment to expand health infrastructure and strengthen its primary-care system.

By doing this, it has achieved nearly universal health insurance coverage, reduced the share of out-of-pocket expenses in total health spending and continued to promote equal access to basic services. In the past five years, public hospital reforms have deepened, and this has improved the availability, equity and affordability of health services.

Overall, the government has greatly reduced child and maternal mortality rates, and improved the general health and life expectancy of the Chinese people. With further innovation and development, Johnson & Johnson believes China's health service will serve as a model for other countries to follow.

What is the biggest challenge China faces and how can the country overcome it?

In our sector, one of the biggest challenges we see is the ongoing demographic changes happening inside China.

A growing middle-class and a rapidly aging population will put a lot of pressure on the demand for healthcare services and products.

This will strain the system but also present significant opportunities for innovation. It can play a key role in promoting more flexible healthcare, which will meet all the needs of Chinese patients and consumers.

What are your expectations for the country's economic policies and what key issues will you be watching for?

We hope to see a continuing focus on expanding and improving healthcare. This would include the government making further investments in infrastructure, access to basic health services and pursuing innovation.

Johnson & Johnson is committed to creating healthy societies wherever we live and work. In China, we are aligning our efforts to support the goals of Healthy China 2030. And our work of creating transformational health solutions is made possible by government initiatives. These will build a robust foundation for innovation, such as Made in China 2025 and Internet Plus.

Could China's experiences and practices be used to solve global problems?

We are optimistic about the country's progress in building a healthy society. The government's achievements on expanding healthcare reform have been remarkable.

These include substantially increasing investment to expanding health infrastructure, strengthening the primary care system and achieving nearly universal health insurance coverage in a relatively short period.

What will China be like in five years and what is the country's long-term future?

China's economy is undergoing an important stage of structural transformation. Innovation will play a central role in driving long-term growth, so I believe this development will be a positive one for the country's future in the years to come.

Johnson & Johnson is convinced a vibrant, innovative China has the opportunity to lead the planet to a healthier future by capitalizing on the health and technology revolution.

What factors will boost growth this year and in 2018, and what are the challenges facing China's economy?

We applaud the government's efforts in transforming the economic structure and emphasizing the importance of innovation. Initiatives, such as supply-side structural reforms, Made in China 2025 and Internet Plus, are helping to shift the country toward an increasingly service-driven and consumption-fueled model. This will boost innovation.

At Johnson & Johnson, we see innovation as a critical driver in promoting long-term economic growth. Leading institutions have forecast that by 2025 innovation will contribute between 2 and 3 percentage points to China's GDP growth. And that will account for between 35 to 50 percent of total GDP growth.

This is a huge opportunity for China and companies here. It will also have a ripple effect on the global economy.

As a Fortune 500 company, which sectors do you think offer the most opportunities for development?

Sustaining investment in innovation is the most important aspect of Johnson & Johnson's strategy. Applied technology is a core element and fundamental. It affects everything we do. If we are not constantly thinking about how concepts, such as augmented intelligence, digitization and the internet of things, affect our businesses, we cannot be successful.

One of the true opportunities going forward is the convergence of disciplines through technologies. Another is personalization and customization. There is an expectation from customers and consumers for a very personal approach . . . more an experience, or solution, than a product.

China is known as a manufacturing giant, but what will the country's "calling card" be in the future?

China is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is a seminal hub for things such as connectivity, mobility and the use of cell phones. Innovation requires a healthy ecosystem, as well as a great educational system.

A strong intellectual property foundation is crucial, along with a system which encourages publications, studies and research. Finally, making sure that academic centers, venture centers and companies of all sizes work together.

In the end, that is what it really takes to create innovation.

What we have seen take root in China, with the encouragement of the government, is a system which is more conducive to entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity than many other places in the world.