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Spotlight on Asia Pacific for Align

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Align Technology Inc. (ALGN - Free Report) has announced the appointment of Julie Tay in the newly created position of vice president, Asia Paific. Tay will oversee business progression in the Asia Pacific region to attain a solid footing for the company. The officeholder’s primary responsibility is to focus on strategic development and operation management for all Align offerings and services in the region effective Mar 1, 2013.

Tay will acquire the responsibility for the company’s direct markets such as China and Japan, and 13 other indirect country markets across the Asia Pacific region. The Asia Pacific region remains one of the most highly sought-after avenues of growth for companies in the medical device space. Align’s latest announcement is expected to improve its execution in the geographical area. Moreover, Tay’s prior experience in the region is likely to yield positive results.

As disclosed earlier, Align has discontinued the distribution agreement with Invisalign Asia Pacific distributorship. Consequently, the company terminated indirect distribution network in four of the largest indirect country markets of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore in the zone.

Nonetheless, this is expected to work in Align’s favor as it reverts back to direct sales in these countries on May 1, 2013. The other nine indirect country markets in Brunei, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are expected to stick to the current distribution model.

Like other players in the industry, Align’s coherent focus on the Asia Pacific market is encouraging. Given the improving infrastructure, rising healthcare expenditure, demographic tailwinds and increasing income levels, strategic focus to expand its regional presence should result in a faster growth profile for the company.

The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, medical stocks such as Cyberonics , Given Imaging and Medical Action , each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) are expected to do well and warrant a look.

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