The pharmaceutical industry in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been highly regulated, particularly ethical products. Promulgation of the socialist market economy and the recent reforms in national healthcare industry have compelled impetuses for change in the distribution systems, forms of investment of multinational pharmaceutical companies, and product/market strategies. The conventional wisdom on pioneer marketing may be challenged by these situations in the PRC. This study examines four markets that encompass both specialty and general pharmaceuticals so as to explore whether there is a product category effect on entry strategies. The findings indicate a possible synergistic effect of product category and order of entry. In addition, product life cycle has a direct impact on order of entry whereas brand position has an effect on product category. Both government policies and corporate strategies have implications on product categories and order of entry. The recent reforms in China have helped to build a foundation for pharmaceutical companies to conduct business in a manner that is similar to that of the developed countries. The entry strategies for pharmaceuticals may therefore involve more complicated considerations in accordance with these new arrangements in the legal and regulatory environments. Further research into relationships among these variables and the mediation effect is therefore indicated.
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