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GE Vice Chair: Emerging markets tap into healthcare

Healthcare will be the new growth opportunity this year for conglomerate General Electric, vice-chairman John Rice has told CNBC.

Rice, who is also the CEO of GE Global Growth & Operations said that the need for emerging markets to increase its care for its growing populations would bolster the company profits for the year.

(Read More: The health-care 'revolution' coming to an island near you)

"Our healthcare business has grown tremendously, particularly in the developing markets," he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"There's been a lot of focus on providing affordable, accessible healthcare in these countries. And we've had some success as a result of that."

(Read More: GE profit rises, helped by oil and gas business)

A subsea oil and gas tree is lowered into a testing pool at the General Electric Co. manufacturing plant in Montrose, U.K., Dec. 11, 2013.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A subsea oil and gas tree is lowered into a testing pool at the General Electric Co. manufacturing plant in Montrose, U.K., Dec. 11, 2013.

A new breed of startups - like Apollo and Narayana Health - have seen success in countries like India and have spread globally, starting new projects in places like the Caribbean Islands.

Rice said GE was working with these companies to provide remote healthcare solutions. This would come in the form of teleconferencing technology or file compression software that would then be sold to the care providers.

Remote healthcare is seen by many as being a key solution to the problem of providing care to a growing global population. Rice said a typical example would be for an MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan to be compressed and sent via the internet for a doctor to review in another part of a country.

(Read More: Buffett's Berkshire gets 'only' $260 million of GE stock)

On January 17, General Electric posted a rise in quarterly net profit with help from its sales of oil pumps and jet engines. The company said net earnings rose to $4.2 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $4.01 billion, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier, according to Reuters data.

By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch. Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81

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