With the BGI aiming to get their own diagnostic sequencing tests on the market, and the purchase and development of Complete Genomics technology - Omega, a question that could be asked is whether BGI will ever stop using Illumina technology?
BGI are still the largest install of HiSeq's but they have not purchased an X-Ten and it's not clear if they've switched over to v4 chemistry on the updated 2500. The cost of upgrades or replacement on a scale on 128 machines would be high, but BGI have deep pockets. So is this the start of the end for Illumina in China?
If BGI stops using Illumina will Illumina notice? I'm sure they will and the markets will read lots into any announcement, but in the long run it's difficult to see China without an Ilumina presence. The Chinese science community is booming, their research spend is second only to the US and is likely to climb much more quickly, and they have a massive health-care market that NGS can make a big impact on.
Once we hear what BGI can do with the CGI technology (exomes for instance) we might find out Illumina has a strong competitor and with LifeTech/Thermo effectively putting Ion Torrent on-hold competition in the NGS market is something the whole community, including Illumina needs.
PS: This is my last post for a couple of weeks while I'm off on holiday in Spain. Hasta luego!