UPMC near deal to expand to China, assist Shanghai lab |

UPMC near deal to expand to China, assist Shanghai lab

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is close to an agreement that would bring its health-care expertise to China.

The Downtown-based global health enterprise is opening an office in Shanghai and expects to announce in about a week that it has a deal to lend its expertise to the largest pathology laboratory in Shanghai, said Dr. John Williams, associate medical and scientific director of UPMC’s International and Commercial Services Division. It would be the medical center’s first business deal in China.

This is the type of business cooperation that the fledging Pittsburgh China Chamber of Commerce wants to promote, said Frank Li, a local financial adviser and one of the organization’s five founders. The chamber held a kickoff event Thursday night at the Diamond Run Golf Club in Ohio Township.

UPMC has a tentative agreement to provide second opinions on tissue samples viewed from Pittsburgh using digital imaging, said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC’s International and Commercial Services Division. UPMC has partnered with GE Healthcare for the viewing system.

The health-care system is close to signing a nonbinding agreement with the Chinese laboratory, Bogosta said. It also has considered providing expertise in hospital operations to Chinese hospitals, he added.

UPMC has clinical operations and consulting relationships in Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Qatar and Japan. UPMC last fiscal year reported $8 billion in revenue.

The Shanghai agreement has not been finalized, and financial terms were not disclosed, but it is expected to “bring those dollars back to Western Pennsylvania,” Williams said.

Major Pittsburgh corporations such as Westinghouse Electric Corp., PPG Industries Inc. and Allegheny Technologies Inc. long have done business in China, but it is more difficult for smaller companies without foreign expertise.

“We want to help small- and midsized businesses expand into the Chinese market … to help them tap into a market with 31 provinces, each with very different dynamics,” said Li, who works for Merrill Lynch in Pittsburgh.

Opportunities exist not just in large coastal cities like Shanghai, but in what are considered the second-tier or inland cities, said Li.

“The wealth being created in China can be used to benefit Western Pennsylvania,” Li said.

To do business in China, the Chinese government requires foreign companies to share the technology of their products.

Justin K. McElhattan is CEO of Industrial Scientific Corp. of Robinson, which makes gas detection equipment and safety devices. His company partnered with a Chinese mining agency in 1986. Even if Chinese firms make identical copies of U.S. designs, he said, his company can offer customer service that the Chinese firms cannot.

As U.S. companies try to gain a foothold in China, Americans should not be alarmed if Chinese firms try to buy into companies here. The specter of a large Chinese company, Anshan Iron & Steel Group, taking a 14 percent stake in a $168 million Mississippi reinforcing steel bar mill in September raised congressional concerns over national security.

“We must break down the barriers about China. I really believe that in the future, we must be willing to consider Chinese firms wanting to buy or invest in the U.S., ” said Mark Stulga, head of the China-U.S. Strategic Development Group, whose firm is involved in a solar power project in China.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.