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With the collective support of the government and private investment supporting Research and Development (R&D) initiatives across the Asia Pacific region; it is without any doubt that the life sciences, medical and pharmaceutical markets have flourished at an unprecedented rate with the support of advance technologies – currently projected at $133 billion growth per year.

Following this trend, Real Life Sciences Singapore – part of the larger SThree Group, has expanded to regional hubs such as Hong Kong.  Real Life Sciences has been heavily involved in the recruitment process of regional medical affairs roles for various projects led by multinational companies.

Over the years, we have shifted our focus on relationship building with our existing and new customers across APAC. Our expansion to Hong Kong has come at a great timing with our Rebecca Nainan, Principle Consultant at Real Life Sciences, moving to Hong Kong after 4 years at Real Life Sciences Singapore.

Rebecca Nainan’s move to Hong Kong

Our global mobility program includes overseas secondments and Rebecca has fully embraced this opportunity – embarking soon on a new journey to Hong Kong with SThree. We spoke with Rebecca and she gladly shared her thoughts on being the first person to set up a Real Life Sciences desk in Hong Kong.

“I’m definitely excited to be moving to a new environment to take on new challenges and enjoy new opportunities. Singapore has opened many doors for me and I had the opportunity of working with many regional hubs and big firms.

However, with the medical markets expanding rapidly in China, we made the strategic decision to open an office in Hong Kong to bring in regional talent to pharmaceuticals and medical institutions teams – a challenge that I am thrilled to take on. On a personal note, having lived apart from my husband for 6 years and bearing with the long-distance relationship, I am more than excited to be finally moving to Hong Kong to be with him!”

Award recipient for Best Recruitment Consultant at the 2018 Recruitment International APAC Awards, we have definitely seen the value-add that Rebecca has brought to our business and the contribution she has made to the recruitment industry. Rebecca was also the Champion of Real Life Science’s #INSPIREDBYYOU campaign in Singapore and successfully led her team in truly making a difference within the pharmaceutical industry. Embracing the motivations of working within the medical sector, Rebecca believes in having a positive mindset and empathising with those in need. Having started her career with no recruitment experience during her rookie days, she really impressed the management team when she made her first two deals in just 10 weeks. Her drive to pursue greater achievements has been truly impressive and it showcased her ability to overcome the challenges along the way.

Why have we decided to expand to Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is the gateway to China – a massive market maintaining the highest an annual growth rate of 17%. As the medical affairs market in Hong Kong is still relatively small compared to other parts of the world, the outlook for growth seems optimistic.  In addition, the flow of foreign capital through Hong Kong to mainland China has increased; thereby making it easier for medical businesses to take advantage of the resource-rich Chinese market.

According to health-care information company IQVIA, China was the world's second-largest national pharmaceutical market in 2017 — worth HKD962 billion (SGD166 billion). Today, China has become the largest emerging market for pharmaceuticals with growth tipped to reach HKD1138 billion to HKD1373 billion by 2022. In Beijing's "Made in China 2025" industry plan, China’s President Xi Jinping has identified the pharmaceutical sector as one to support, especially with large investments being made on innovation and home-grown R&D. It is therefore very advantageous for candidates to break into the medical and pharmaceutical markets in China now.

China has come a long way since it first began to embrace globalisation in the early 1980s. Back then, China was not as advanced in terms of development and technology when compared to other parts of the world. However, it strongly overturned this by encouraging firms to bring in expats to revitalise the economy. With greater investments being made to R&D projects, we expect that even large pharmaceuticals like Pfizer and Gilead based in China will benefit from such opportunities as they are currently short on talent with regional exposure across APAC.

Launch of ‘Great Bay Area’

To support the establishment of more drug-testing centres for clinical trials and medical data exchanges, Beijing is unveiling the “Greater Bay Area” blueprint – a grand plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities into an economic and innovation powerhouse to rival Silicon Valley and the Tokyo Bay Area. It is expected that Hong Kong will play an integral part of biotech and medical breakthroughs in the coming years. Medtech start-ups in the Greater Bay Area can also use Hong Kong as a gateway for global expansion. Similarly international firms can benefit from this initiative as a gateway to enter the lucrative Chinese market.

How will Real Life Sciences Hong Kong assist you?

At Real Life Sciences, our recruitment specialists have the expertise and market knowledge to find the right candidate for your business through a consistent recruitment process – no matter our location in the world. It currently operates in a broad range of countries across APAC – including Singapore, Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan and South Korea. We have also entered the Tokyo market in 2014 and it is currently being operated separately by SThree Japan. We are excited about our venture into Hong Kong and we hope you are too!

To enquire about jobs within the medical affairs market across APAC, please contact Rebecca Nainan at s.nainan@realstaffing.com or follow us on our LinkedIn page for more industry updates.