Interview with Mr Ma Yun Xiu, STD Lab Management, China
BEIJING: Recently, industry representatives met in Beijing for the 2008 China Dental Industrial Summit. Dental Tribune China Editor Shelly Yui spoke with Mr Ma Yun Xiu, President of STD Lab Management, about the current state of the dental lab industry in China.
DT China: Mr Ma, Chinese dental labs are often said to offer cheap but low quality services. How do you respond to these claims?
Ma Yun Xiu: Most Chinese dental labs I had the chance to visit have a serious consciousness for service and product quality.
But contaminated bridges and crowns from China have recently appeared in the United States. Are these individual cases?
I think they are. By now a majority of dental labs in China are using raw materials as well as equipment from high-level brands in the world, such as Ivoclar Vivadent, Dentsply or Shofu. To illustrate this, I can tell you that almost 90 per cent of ceramic powder used in Chinese labs is imported from North America, Europe and Japan.
How many dental labs are there in China right now and to what extend are they working with overseas clients?
There are more than 8,000 dental labs of different sizes in China of which approximately 100 are able to provide qualified services for overseas clients. While the rest are actively seeking new market opportunities abroad, these few have gained a significant volume of the world market and are continuously expanding.
As China has become a worldwide production centre for the apparel and shoe industry, we have full confidence that it will become a global production centre for dentures as well.
How would you rate the level of dental lab work in China compared to other emerging countries in the region like India for instance?
Chinese dental labs have experienced a remarkable revolution from a simple handicraft business to a state-of-the-art industry. Our technicians are professional and their work is compatible with international standards. Therefore, you can find dentures ‘Made in China’ in many neighbouring countries like India, but hardly the other way around.
What main services do Chinese dental labs offer?
This depends on the requested product but there is literary nothing Chinese dental labs can’t do. Meanwhile, they use computer management systems and the internet, which largely enhances their service ability. Foreign clients can acquire the information by electronic order immediately and experience a higher level of transparency through online consulting systems.
How does the Chinese government ensure the product quality of dental lab work conducted in the country?
Our government pays special attention to the safety of medical products and strictly supervises any type of dental lab work. Therefore, dental labs are required to have a medical license and the manufacturers have to have a license for production.
There are differences, however, in quality standards throughout the country and some provinces demand factories to provide detailed QC (Quality Control) reports for every piece they produce.
Where do you see the general prospects for the dental lab industry in China?
The prospects for the dental lab industry in China are bright since the abilities to serve global customers have increased. Our dental lab industry can built upon its product service attitude, product quality and decent price policy. I hope that our labs continue to offer excellent products and services for everyone in need.
Thank you for this interview.