The big problems of China’s amino acids healthcare market 03-06-2018

Even the share of amino acids that are used in the healthcare market is comparably small, growing demand and high profits are driving this new business in China. However, the market is poisoned by three main problems currently.


During the past years, Chinese amino acids manufacturers have changed their business focus and started to target the market of minor amino acids, like valine, isoleucine, and glutamine. These kinds of products can be counted to the healthcare and medicine industry. After all, the profit for producers of healthcare amino acids is higher than the one of bulk amino acids, since they are stated at high-grade amino acids. 

However, even the Chinese amino acids healthcare industry is growing rapidly, the market represents still a small part of the whole amino acids market and problems are consistent in the industry. According to market intelligence firm CCM, there are three main problems that damaging the Chinese market currently. 

First of all, thanks to the growing living standard in China, the population is demanding and can afford higher-quality pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, which is pulling companies to get some of the valuable market shares. However, some manufacturers are using dirty tricks labelling and advertising their products wrong. For example, it is not uncommon that products do not have any official registration, or products are labelled as clinical drugs, even they do not meet the requirements to do so. 

Furthermore, some manufacturers have added less–than-required contents to their products. According to the Guangdong Food and Drug Administration, several products that were inspected in December 2017 faced far fewer amino acids than the required amount. 

For the last point, the Chinese market is facing an occasional illegal addition of food additives. According to CCM’s research, substandard imported protein powder was found earlier this year. These products were substandard due to illegal use of food additive stevioside; of nutrition enhancers (l-leucine, l-valine and l-isoleucine); and of the food additive sodium silicoaluminate. 

About China’s amino acid market

The increasing efforts of China’s amino acid manufacturers are based on the optimistic outlook for the Asian market, especially the one in China, as the country is the leading consumer. The domestic need, especially for the animal feed industry, is going to rise about 10% to 15% in the next years, experts predict. Hence, the competition in this promising market is attracting many enterprises in China and overseas.


Feed-grade and food-grade amino acids are accounting for over 80% market shares of the total, due to the huge demand for poultry and livestock raising industry in China. However, the competition in the feed grade amino acid market is quite fierce, when many leading producers have been expanding their capacity or upgrade technologies.  

Pharmaceutical grade amino acids boast promising prospects, especially in the large volume markets, owning a large demand. What's more, the demand is increasing thanks to the fact that Chinese authorities are working on to standardise the use of the pharmaceutical products. However, the market competition here is also very fierce, according to CCM. 

Amino Acids in the healthcare industry

At present, the major amino acid healthcare products in the world include compound amino acid oral liquid, compound amino acid capsules, compound amino acid tablets, single amino acid nourishment, amino acid powder and amino acid drinks. The leading single amino acid products are lysine, arginine, taurine and glutamine.

Share of amino acid healhcare products in the Chinese market 2016

Source: CCM 

Amino acid healthcare products have no absolute advantages in the Chinese industry. Currently, the effective method of increasing sales is large amounts of advertising, great efforts in marketing. Amino acid healthcare product has lower awareness than vitamins, so it takes up small market share. 

It is worth noticing, that Chinese pharmaceutical economic growth is slowing down, posing considerable pressures on manufacturers. However, the demand for pharmaceuticals is still strong, and the pharmaceutical industry can generate huge incomes. Under such circumstances, the amino acid healthcare product has a promising future. The role amino acids, for long neglected, is today gaining recognition as an important adjunct in the healthcare section. 

In 1956 was the first year when amino acids were used in the medical field after infusions for the supply of nutrition to patients before and after surgery were launched in Japan. During the development time in the last 50 years, they were found to increase the surgical success rate in addition to allowing nutritional control and are now widely used as indispensable medical products for surgery. 

The physiological function of each amino acid has been studied in depth and hopes run high for the development of medical products using their physiological functions. Amino acid production technology, including the fermentation method, has made it possible to manufacture high-quality amino acids in large amounts. This technological development has made a significant contribution to the diffusion of amino acid infusions throughout the world. 

About the article

The information for this article is provided by CCM, China’s leading market intelligence firm for the fields of agriculture, chemicals, food and feed. 

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