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Schering eyes China for contraceptive sales growth

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SINGAPORE, Feb 24 (Reuters) Schering AG, the world's top maker of oral contraceptives by volume, said on Friday it hoped for high double-digit growth in sales of its Yasmin contraceptive in the fast-growing China market by 2009.

It is already seeing double-digit growth in overall sales in China, where it has a product portfolio that includes oral contraceptive Diane-35, diagnostic imaging products and cancer treatments.

Berlin-based Schering plans to launch Yasmin, the world's top-selling oral contraceptive, in South Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam and China in 2007-08.

''We have very, very big potential in China and in Korea,'' Klaus Wolf, regional managing director for Schering Asia-Pacific, told reporters.

He forecast high double-digit growth in China sales in 2008 or 2009, assuming Schering secures regulatory approvals needed to sell there by 2008. It plans to launch in South Korea in 2007.

But Wolf said Schering would have to raise awareness of oral contraceptives in Asia. ''We have to convince women that this is the right thing to do,'' Wolf said. ''As China is catching up fast, I'm pretty sure we will have quite a lot of success with our products.'' Shering said earlier this week its fourth-quarter sales rose 11 percent to 1.41 billion euros. Its global Yasmin sales jumped 35 percent to 165 million euros.

REUTERS SB SND1316

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