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Angelalign Technology, the leading clear aligner company in mainland China, wants to sell more clear aligners at home and is poised to explore international expansion opportunities. (Image: SP rabbito/Shutterstock)

Chinese clear aligner maker aims high

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International
June 10, 2021

SHANGHAI, China: Many readers may not have heard of Angelalign Technology, the largest clear aligner manufacturer in mainland China. The company shares most of the letters in its name with its largest competitor, US-based Align Technology, and the two companies also share the bulk of Chinese clear aligner sales. Angelalign stepped out of relative obscurity and into the international spotlight in June when it offered nearly 17 million shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Angelalign made its market debut with an initial public offering (IPO) of 16.8 million shares. The company aimed to raise HK$2.91 billion (307.77 million) through the IPO which closed on 8 June, and as much as 90% of the total shares were reportedly earmarked for international sale.

According to The Standard—Hong Kong’s main English daily newspaper—the company plans to spend the funds on the construction of new manufacturing facilities, a research and development centre and new information technology systems, among other things.

Who is Angelalign Technology, and what does it sell?

Angelalign was founded in 2003 and its Angelalign clear aligner system consists of clear aligner trays, digitally assisted treatment planning services and a cloud-based service platform called iOrtho.

The company markets four types of clear aligners:

  • Angelalign is moderately priced and used to treat a wide range of malocclusions.
  • Angelalign Pro is a premium aligner that addresses more complex cases.
  • Angelalign Kid is used to treat children aged 6–12.
  • COMFOS is a moderately priced product that addresses growing demand for tooth straightening in younger adults.

The company says that its Angelalign Pro system is the first “multimode” clear aligner and is fitted with mechanical properties that enable differing progress of tooth movement during different stages of treatment.

The company is currently neck and neck with Align Technology in China. According to its IPO prospectus (a PDF of which can be viewed here), the two competitors accounted for 82.4% of the Chinese clear aligner market in 2020, of which Angelalign said it held a 41.0% share. In the same year, clear aligner retail sales in China were worth US$1.5 billion (1.2 billion) and this is expected to increase to US$11.9 billion by 2030, according to data cited by the company. Angelalign said that China had over one billion cases of malocclusion last year. Around 3.1 million cases were treated, and clear aligner treatment accounted for just 11% of these cases.

Expanding clear aligner sales in China, and abroad?

In 2020, Angelalign manufactured 16.2 million clear aligner trays, thereby utilising 74% of its current total production capacity of 21.9 million trays. The company said in its IPO prospectus that it was constructing the Chuangmei manufacturing and research and development facility in Wuxi city in the southern Jiangsu province in China, which will grant it 126,000 m2 of additional floor space.

“We plan to equip our Chuangmei centre and our existing manufacturing facilities with intelligent manufacturing technologies, including the most advanced 3D printers and manufacturing automation technologies, such as robot technologies,” the prospectus read, adding that these technologies would enable it to achieve economies of scale.

The company says that it has established one of the largest stomatology databases for the Asian population

As well as aiming at selling more clear aligners at home, Angelalign said that it is poised to explore expansion opportunities in the global clear aligner market.

One of the greatest advantages that Angelalign has in its home market is its understanding of dentistry in China, which allows it to tailor its products and treatment specifically to Chinese patients. The company says that it has established one of the largest stomatology databases for the Asian population.

“Leveraging our data-driven insight and a series of appliances and attachments and patented treatment plans on top of our diversified product lines, we are uniquely positioned to help dental professionals address intractable cases that are prevalent in China. As a result, we enable dental professionals to deliver effective treatment for a growing number of malocclusion cases with varying complexities and for an enlarging patient base of a broad spectrum of ages and different spending powers,” the company said in its prospectus.

Angelalign shipped 77,700 first batches of clear aligners in 2018 and this increased to 137,600 in 2020. During the same period, the number of dental clinics in China that Angelalign served increased from 11,500 to 19,900.

The average selling price of the company’s clear aligners was RMB 8,400 (1,078) in 2018 and this decreased to RMB 7,700 in 2020.

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