MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) has acquired a stake in a Chinese maker of surgical instruments for $46.5 million, the latest bid by the world's largest medical device maker to expand in a fast-growing market.

Medtronic bought a 19% stake in LifeTech Scientific Corp., and also spent another $19.6 million on a note that is convertible to a stake of about 7.4%.

China is one of the world's fastest-growing markets for medical devices. Last year, Medtronic added 1,500 employees, predominantly in China and India. In September, the company paid more than $800 million to acquire Chinese spine and joint implant maker Kanghui Holdings.

In buying LifeTech, the Minneapolis company also won rights to distribute LifeTech products. Medtronic said it may also help the Chinese company with product development.

LifeTech makes surgical instruments used in heart surgery and related procedures. The company is headquartered in Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, and has sales forces in 30 countries.

Medtronic shares rose 12 cents to $46.76 in afternoon trading Wednesday.


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