Shenzhen Skyline. Photo: Wishva Da Silva. Source: Wikimedia
Tencent is a Chinese internet company based in Shenzhen, which owns WeChat, QQ, and most of China’s online music services. With a market cap of $500 billion, it’s the fifth most valuable company in the world, behind Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.
They own most of an online healthcare services firm called We Doctor that will soon go public in Hong Kong. We Doctor provides a host of medical services through its smartphone app, including appointment booking, consultation, referrals, diagnosis, prescriptions, and even insurance. They have over 220,000 doctors connected to over 150 million registered users across 30 provinces in China. They’re looking to use the funds they raise from their Hong Kong IPO to expand even further into in East Asia.
Online medical services are a big deal in China. Ping An Insurance has an app called Good Doctor that’s also planning an IPO. These online health services use artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist in diagnosis, radiology, and a whole host of other applications. China’s mobile health market is booming, growing at an estimated 50% per year. A recent survey of consumers in 23 countries showed that 28% of Chinese people use a connected health device, versus only 21% in the US and just 11% in the UK.
Source: Mobile Health News
In the US we’re accustomed to thinking of ourselves as technology leaders. Start-up CEOs brag about “changing the world” with streaming music and online ride-sharing apps. While these aren’t small changes, they pale in comparison to health care. There isn’t much that’s closer to our hearts than the health of our hearts!
These Chinese competitors may show what mobile technology can do in a far-flung country with an underserved, needy population. Healthcare leaders in the US just might learn something.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA