Medtronic Opens China Center to Support R&D, Plans to Hire 1,000

The Shanghai Innovation Center will work closely with Medtronic’s global research and development teams, as well as local universities and research institutes; it will also serve as an incubator in which Chinese physicians will be able to work on new clinical solutions.

Medtronic, Inc., said Tuesday that it has opened an “innovation center” in Shanghai, China—a move that represents the medical device company’s first step toward conducting local product research and development within the country.
 
The innovation center is located at Medtronic’s China headquarters, its first headquarters outside of the United States and Europe. The regional headquarters opened in March 2011, and Medtronic said at the time that it would hire and train 1,000 staff members over the next five years in order to serve the fast-growing Chinese health care sector.
 
In its Tuesday announcement, Fridley-based Medtronic reiterated that commitment, adding that “hundreds” of those employees “will work toward the development of new medical technologies within the Innovation Center.”
 
The Shanghai Innovation Center will work closely with Medtronic’s global research and development teams, as well as local universities and research institutes. The center will also serve as an incubator in which Chinese physicians will be able to work on translating their ideas into new clinical solutions.
 
“Globalization is a key strategy and driver of growth for Medtronic,” Chairman and CEO Omar Ishrak said in a prepared statement. “We have already accelerated our efforts to expand in emerging markets, including China, through additional investments in people and infrastructure, and the Shanghai Innovation Center is an example of our work to transform ourselves into a truly global organization.”
 
Medtronic has had a presence in China for more than 15 years—and it has been increasing its footprint there ever since entering the country.
 
The company opened its first China office in 1996 at a high-tech park in Shanghai, where it also built a pacemaker assembly line. In 2008, Medtronic made a 15 percent equity investment in Weigao Group, a Chinese medical device company, and it formed a joint venture with Weigao.
 
In August 2010, Medtronic opened its first “patient care center” in Beijing, China—a facility that aimed to help chronic disease patients and the public better understand such diseases and corresponding therapies.
 
Medtronic is one of many local companies that see potential in China. In June, Governor Mark Dayton led a trade mission to the country. He was accompanied by 50 local leaders from a number of well-known companies, including Medtronic, 3M, and Best Buy, as well as local trade groups like the Minnesota Pork Growers Association and the Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

China is Minnesota’s second-largest export market: The country received $2.3 billion in Minnesota exports last year.

Medtronic is the world’s largest medical device company and Minnesota’s seventh-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $16.2 billion for the fiscal year that ended in April.