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China's analog X-ray machines are gobbling up US film supply

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Cellphone X-Ray
Cellphone X-Ray

Film may be going the way of the dodo, but not in China where it's gaining popularity for use in analog X-ray machines in many of the nation's estimated 20,000 hospitals and smaller clinics. That's led to a massive uptick in business for US-based film exporters, reports Quartz. This year alone, US companies have exported the same amount of film that they did between 2010 and 2012, a figure that could grow even more given the prevalence of these analog machines. Like the digital revolution with film cameras, the same thing has happened with X-ray machines, though Quartz notes that the digital versions are quite a bit more expensive, making the analog versions more attractive in the sprawling rural areas of China.

Film's making a comeback

The film that's being exported comes in large rolls, which can be cut down to be used either in cameras or with medical equipment. More than half of the shipments headed to China in the past year have come from US-based Kodak spinoff Carestream Health, says Quartz, and are being shipped out from ports in California.