What CRO services are needed by Chinese agrochemical enterprises?  In early 2017, AgroPages issued an English version of the CROs Manual, which not only attracted worldwide attention, but also aroused interest among Chinese agrochemical enterprises. In order to take into account ideas and suggestions from Chinese readers, AgroPages plans to publish a Chinese version of the CROs Manual in October 2017 to help Chinese agrochemical enterprises make a fast and accurate selection of professional CROs, which fit the market positioning of Chinese agrochemical enterprises in the course of overseas market registrations.
To prepare the Manual in a way that is more suited to the practical needs of Chinese enterprises, AgroPages had recently conducted a survey among Chinese agrochemical enterprises so as to understand their needs. The survey began on May 23 and ended on June 13, 2017, with a total of 240 valid questionnaires received back in three weeks’ time. The feedback in the questionnaires will help CROs that are planning to develop the Chinese market to better understand the needs of the market and to find the right approaches to providing services accordingly.
Question 1: CROs from which countries should be included in the Manual?
This question will tell the target market about the concerns of Chinese agrochemical enterprises. In the 240 page-long questionnaire, the United States is mentioned 111 times and the European Union 120 times (United Kingdom and France rank first and second). Most readers want to understand the developed market of Europe and United States, attributable to the high registration requirement and the difficulties in gaining market access.
Latin America, as based on the two major agricultural countries—Brazil and Argentina—also appeals to readers. In the survey, Brazil was mentioned 120 times and Argentina 39 times. The differences between the two countries in respect of culture, law and language would indicate their respective needs.
The Asia-Pacific market represented by China and India has also attracted a high degree of attention. In the questionnaire, 91 people said they would want to know about CROs in India, 81 people opted for China and 51 people for Australia. 
Furthermore, 57 people expressed interest in Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The reasons are that Southeast Asian countries are geographically close to China and they offer broad agricultural development prospects. Quite a lot of Chinese enterprises have started trial registration and launch of products in these countries, having so far achieved good business results.
Additionally, Russia, Africa and Japan are mentioned as well, which represent the needs of some Chinese enterprises. Some readers have even suggested categorization of development regions, developing regions and undeveloped regions, such that registration policies in different countries or regions are addressed to allow for better understanding of the needs of different regions.

Question 2: What are the main test items which you need?

According to the feedback, the needs of Chinese agrochemical enterprises for CRO test items are concentrated on three aspects: Toxicology Studies, Physical-Chemical Tests and 5-Batch Analysis. These items are also the basic data information as required by overseas registration of agrochemical products. At present, the overseas market of Chinese agrochemical enterprises is in a very primary stage and the priority is to achieve a breakthrough in the registration for admission into the target country. The aforementioned three test items are the most common data information required by registration regulations, therefore the needs are focused on this kind of service.
It is worthy to note that quite many interviewees chose regulatory and registration consulting, meaning that there is an active demand from Chinese enterprises for legal affairs and registration consulting services. Therefore registration consultancies, or CROs that have good knowledge about the laws and regulations in different countries or regions may have more opportunities for business.
Furthermore, besides the listed options, QSAR and mutagenesis test are mentioned by a small number of readers.
3. Which CROs will you recommend to be included in the Manual?

To find answers to this question, interviewees have been invited to recommend CROs, which they think should be included in the Manual. This would show as to what extent interviewees know about CROs. In the answers, some active CROs are repeatedly mentioned, which is positively related to the degree of publicity for these CROs. For example, Bioagri (now Mérieux Nutrisciences) is mentioned repeatedly because its business dynamics are reported several times in AgroPages. Of course this is also attributable to the localization of operations and price performance ratio of CROs.
The 10 mostly frequently mentioned CROs are listed in the above Table, of which Bioagri is recommended by 27 interviewees and was ranked first. This CRO is the largest private-run CRO in Latin America, with over 20 years of experience in the service. The interviewees’ interest for Bioagri corresponds with the target market as specified in Question 1. In addition, Plantec in Brazil is recommended 12 times.
India’s JRF and China’s Nutrichem are each recommended 18 times. China’s SYRICI (Shenyang Research Institute of Chemical Industry) is recommended 15 times. The demand for service in the Asia Pacific market cannot be ignored.
In European countries, the French Anadiagis was recommended 15 times and the British EPP 12 times. The complicated and time-consuming regulations of the European Union are the main obstacles for Chinese enterprises looking to enter European market, where quick legal recognition for registration data is a crucial issue.
The other CROs recommended by interviewees include Laprode (Zhejiang) Analysis, SGS, Envigo, Eurofins, Staphyt, Southwest and PSL.
4. What additional information regarding CRO and test items do you think should be included in the Manual?
This is an open issue. Valuable information has been received, which is both expected and unexpected. This information will be of help in guiding CROs to fulfill the individualized needs of customers, as well as cultivate customer recognition and trust. Here are some excerpts for reference.
1) CROs
- CRO qualification and safety management
- CRO team building, field of expertise and service, target registration market
- Degree of recognition in its country and acceptance in other countries
- Knowledge of registration in its country and other countries
- Product list accomplished already
- Case study
- Timely notification of valid and convenient contact details and the changes
2) Test Items
- Time required to complete each item
- Fees required for each test to be listed in the Manual
- CRO’s adopted guideline, research method, test standard and evaluation indicators
- Operation procedure, such as sample and documentation to be submitted; improved coordination between submitting party and CRO; follow-up action
3) Test report
- Quality of test report
- Availability of various information in the course of testing
- Construing of report data
On the basis of the survey, all CROs interested in subscribing to the Chinese version of the AgroPages 2017 CRO Manual are invited to provide detailed profile and catalogue for inclusion in the Manual.
The Manual will be indexed to registration-oriented test items, for e.g., 5-Batch Analysis, Toxicology Studies, Field Trial, as well as being indexed in countries and regions to enable fast searching by Chinese enterprises according to their business demand. Furthermore, AgroPages will generate a CRO QR code for readers to easily access the service information of CROs via real-time communication with project leaders.
For more information on the manual inclusion and sponsorship proposal, please contact: Erwin Xue via agropages@vip.163.com