Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”, HKEX: 02318; SSE: 601318) leads the world with 1,074 patent applications in the “Top 100 Global Digital Health Patents for 2018-2020”, jointly issued by the China Digital Technology Development Working Committee (CDTC) and 01 Caijing magazine. Ping An is followed by Netherlands-headquartered Philips (1,021 applications) and Johnson & Johnson of the US (535 applications).
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From 2018-2020, Ping An’s 1,074 digital health patent applications were mainly focused on scenarios of smart diagnosis and treatment assistants, patient record management, medical image processing, medicine management and smart hospital management.
Ping An also ranked first in the country and third in the world with 9,255 patents in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in the “Top 100 Global AI Patents Ranking for 2018-2020” jointly issued by CDTC and 01 Caijing.
The global digital health patents ranking is a testament to the significant efforts of medical institutions and healthtech companies in China. By country, China also tops the list of global digital health patents with 23,100 applications for 2018-2020, followed by the US (9,100 applications) and Japan (2,700 applications). The CDTC noted that compared with the US, China started later in the development of digital health but industry giants such as Ping An have provided creativity and influence for the development of the digital health field.
Since the State Council issued the Opinions on Promoting the Development of “Internet plus Health Care” in 2018, digital health’s development in China has achieved remarkable results. From 2018 to 2020, nearly 8,000 applicants in China participated in 23,100 patent applications, surpassing developed countries such as the US, Japan and South Korea. China represented more than 50% of patent applications and patent applicants in that time, among a global total of 44,500 digital health patent applications, more than 80 countries and 14,000 applicants, including companies, universities, hospitals, government authorities, research institutions and individuals.
According to the ranking, there are two significant development trends in China’s digital health field: 1) Technology industry giants represented by Ping An, Baidu, Huawei and Tencent entered the field of digital health to compete for the rapidly growing health care market expected to reach RMB16 trillion by 2030; and 2) Looking at the patent applications and the launch of medical devices, the development of smart diagnosis and treatment assistant tools is the focus in the short term.
The global digital health patents list also shows that in addition to medical institutions and healthtech companies, major players from different industries are also involved in the development of digital health sector. In China, these include Ping An from the finance industry, Tencent from the internet industry and Yitu from AI industry.
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