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China has the world's largest population. In 2009, it was officially estimated at 1,334.7 million. The province of
Guangdong, in south-central
China, had the largest population, with 96.4 million, equal to 7.2% of the total.
Eastern China was the most populated region of the country, inhabited by 384.9 million people in 2009. The area includes
Shanghai, China's largest city, with a population of 19.2 million.
In 2009, the Chinese government committed
850 billion yuan (
US$124 billion) to develop the country's healthcare system over a three-year period. The plan is to create a solid platform for universal healthcare access for all by 2020. The Chinese government expanded the health insurance programme to cover all rural residents by the end of 2008. Urban health insurance was already well established, covering nearly all working citizens, and the government plans to cover all urban dwellers, including the unemployed and children who were not covered previously.
The prospects for medical device spending is huge; the government has committed heavily in the construction of thousands of hospitals, healthcare centres, clinics and this will inevitably lead to spending on capital goods, most notably medical devices, equipment and furniture at an unprecedented rate in a relatively short space of time.
Priority has been given to the construction and renovation of around 2,000 county level-hospitals, so that each county will have at least one such facility. County-level hospitals are usually the best equipped hospitals in the country and must have at least 250 beds. The central government will fund the construction of 29,000 township hospitals, and the upgrading of another 5,000, according to the plan. The government has also allocated funds for the construction of village clinics in remote areas so that every village will have at least one unit by the end of the three-year period.