Health technology is nowadays the largest high-tech export segment of Finnish industry, and the industry continues to grow strongly even further. The value of exports rose to a new record level of €1.92 billion in 2015, an increase of 6.6% compared to the previous year. Trade in health technology also delivered a new record for the balance of trade, with a positive balance of €896 million for the year.
Over the last twenty years, Finland's exports of health technology have increased five-fold, while the balance of trade in health technology has increased ten-fold. Veli Mäkelä, Chairman of the Finnish Health Technology Association, though emphasizes that Finland's health technology is even more significant than trade statistics indicate.
"Several multinational companies have, even by global standards, large R&D operations in Finland. These activities, as well as healthcare-related software exports, are not included in these merchandise trade statistics", Mäkelä explains.
The strongest growth was seen in the in vitro diagnostics segment, where 16% growth led to exports of in vitro diagnostics exceeding €500 million for the first time. Europe has traditionally been the leading destination for health technology exports. But last year the situation changed with exports to the USA rising 16% in 2015. Taking 36% of exports, fractionally more than Europe, the USA is now the top destination. Germany was again the second leading destination with growth of 11% in exports, while third-placed China saw exports rise 35%.
Finland's health technology industry manufactures and develops the vast majority of its products in Finland. The industry directly employs over 10,000 people.