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China’s Silicon Valley Dream Powers Rise of Health Startups

Holed up in a shiny glass building in the Chinese city of Chengdu, Y. James Kang spends his days researching ways to repair damaged hearts, livers and brains — with the help of stem cells and 3D printers.

The Chinese-born and U.S.-trained biologist set up his health-care startup, Revotek, in this southwestern city in 2014. At the time, he was attracted by the region’s rich local supply of monkeys that were ideal for testing human treatments. In Chengdu, the company has drawn 215 million yuan ($33 million) in funding from a local real-estate company seeking to diversify.

A few miles from Kang’s lab, AllTech Medical Systems has developed and is selling MRI systems intended to compete with multinational giants such as General Electric Co., Royal Philips NV and Siemens AG, which have dominated the market. Its MIT-trained founder, Zou Xueming, chose Chengdu to start his second company after selling his Cleveland-based startup to GE in 2002. AllTech hopes to submit an application to go public by the end of next year, with Zou planning to raise $50 million to $100 million.