Manufacturing News

Cochlear hits the wrong tone in latest Chinese hearing unit tender

Australian hearing aid manufacturer, Cochlear, has missed out on a Chinese government tender to manufacture hearing aids, according to the AFR.

Documents from the Chinese Ministry of Finance show that US firm Advanced Bionics, Austria’s Med-el and China’s Nuroton each have a share in developing 4800 hearing units in this tender.

Med-el tendered the lowest price per unit was $US5490 (A$7230) but Nuroton won the tender with a unit price of $US5916 per unit (A$7789.34). Cochlear normally expects to win between half and a third of Chinese government tenders to manufacture hearing aid units.

During the previous tender, Cochlear developed 1100 units to the Chinese government. This is below the 1700 units developed in the first half in 2016. 

The founder of Nuroton told AFR that Cochlear had won three of the last government tenders and the Chinese government was wary of balance. The Chinese company has government backing. Also, Chinese wages are often half of that in Australia so it is more price competitive. 

There are 28 million deaf people in China and more than 30,000 babies are born with hearing impairments each year which represents a significant market opportunity.

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