Bangalore: General Electric Co.’s GE Healthcare unit will almost double the number of engineers working for its research and development team in India over the next two years to help it develop low-cost medical systems for the local market.
The world’s biggest maker of medical imaging systems will add 1,000 engineers to its research and development team in India, John Dineen, chief executive of GE Healthcare, said in Bangalore. About 1,200 engineers already work at the company’s research and development facility in the city. The Indian unit has a total of 2,700 employees.
GE Healthcare plans to invest $50 million in its Indian unit over the next two-three years to introduce as many as 10 products a year, he said. The company on Thursday introduced an electrocardiogram (ECG) system that is priced 80% lower than a similar imported product available in India and a cardiac ultrasound machine that is about 50% cheaper, Dineen said.
GE Healthcare expects sales in India to reach $400 million (Rs1,800 crore) in the year ended 31 December compared with $300 million in the previous year. It expects to grow at an average of 30% a year until 2015, he said.
GE Healthcare has so far locally developed 13 low-cost diagnostic products such as CT scans, ultrasound, infant-care and ECG, specifically for the Indian market. The company plans to diversify into products in the anaesthesia, ventilation, molecular-imaging and blood-based diagnostics in the nation.
The unit currently has a 35% share of the medical-systems market in India, Dineen said.
GE Healthcare has also been exploring a pay-per-use model in India for some of its products to make them affordable for low-volume, rural diagnostic centres. It is looking to tie up with non-banking financial companies to help small clinics finance purchases of equipment, said V. Raja, chief executive of GE Healthcare India.