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A key player in the Chinese healthcare industry
By Morgan Brady

BT 201903 investment 01微医

“看病难”的最大症结在于医疗资源应用不均衡,主要体现为“资深专家有品牌没时间,年轻/基层医生有时间但没品牌”。 “微医集团(We Doctor Group)”利用互联网技术,将资深专家的经验和年轻/基层医生的时间相融合,让资深专家专注于对症病人,做经验传承。让年轻/基层医生获得转诊的绿色通道、优先会诊等资源,共享专家组的经验及品牌,获得便捷的协作、会诊、转诊及服务患者的工具。



BT 201903 investment 02Digital businesses are thriving. And China is gradually becoming a hub for those types of promising businesses. Advances in physical and virtual infrastructure have enabled the rise of many such businesses to reach billions of dollars in valuation in various sectors. One distinguished company is We Doctor Holdings Limited, operating in the healthcare and medicine sector.

An entire healthcare ecosystem in one platform
We Doctor Holdings Limited (“WeDoctor”) was founded in 2010 by Jerry Liao and his team and is based in Hangzhou, China. It offers an online platform through which patients can receive online and offline healthcare services. This platform enables the integration of expertise between the general practitioner and specialist doctors. The company is structured in four business segments, namely, WeDoctor Healthcare, WeDoctor Cloud, WeDoctor Insurance, and WeDoctor Pharma.

BT 201903 investment 04Multiple entities are present on the platform to ensure that multiple actors are cooperating for the benefits of the patients and the advancement of healthcare. WeDoctor brings together the government, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and financial institutions to create an innovative and holistic healthcare provision and funding ecosystem. On the WeDoctor smart platform, there are over 2,700 hospitals, 220,000 leading doctors, 15,000 pharmacies and 27 million monthly active users, according to the company’s statistics.

The company’s achievements
Since its establishment, the company has accomplished a lot. It has built China's largest appointment registration platform under the name Guahao.com. It is bringing the transformative power of technology to the healthcare system, by the creation of the nation's first Internet hospital - Wuzhen Internet Hospital. It has also launched the industry’s first domestic smart health terminal and has made significant progress in the field of smart healthcare with the creation of AI-enabled diagnosis systems for both Western and Chinese medicine.

BT 201903 investment 03Patients wait less and reach specialists faster
The company solves many problems for patients. In addition to offering innovative solutions through the integration of multiple actors in the healthcare industry, it solved the problem of bureaucracy in the sector by enabling patients to book their appointments online. One of its first solutions was to enable patients to book an appointment before even arriving at the hospital. When the company started, its name was “Guahao” which means “take a number”. In 2015, the company managed to secure $394 million in investments from major investors, such as Goldman Sachs and Hillhouse Capital, as well as Chinese shareholders such as Tencent, China Development Bank Capital, Fosum, and others. Today, the company is a unicorn (it exceeds 1 billion dollars in value).

The company was ambitious and wanted to offer more than simply number booking to its patients. It used investments for developing a nation-wide platform for diagnosis and treatment, and to develop five surgery centres in cooperation with renowned medical companies. To reflect its wide-scope mission, it changed its name to WeDoctor.

BT 201903 investment 05WeDoctor’s strategic moves
In 2018, the company entered into a joint venture with idsMED, a leading medical supply chain solutions company and member of Fung Group, which belongs to Hong Kong’s tycoon, Victor Fung Kwok-king. The expected outcome is one company that is 51% owned by WeDoctor and 49% by idsMED, to deliver smart medical supply chain solutions and procurement. The company will establish many educational and training academies in different locations in China to promote and provide medical education and products.

Following the merger of Hong Kong’ best fertility clinics, Reproductive Healthcare and The Women’s clinic, into one entity, WeDoctor entered into a strategic partnership with this emergent entity to get hold of at least 30% share in the market for invitro fertilization in Hong Kong.

In 2018, WeDoctor sold a portion of its shares to private investors in the value of $500 million. The largest buyers were Medical insurance major AIA Group and tycoon Henry Cheng Kar-shun’s infrastructure conglomerate NWS Holdings, in addition to China Investment Financial Holdings Fund Management, a unit of sovereign fund manager China Investment Corporation. This sale has placed the value of WeDoctor at $5.5 billion.

BT 201903 investment 06IPO in Hong Kong expected
The company plans to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong, according to its Chief strategy officer, Jeff Chan, some time in 2019. Chan said that the company is still working on building its offline presence. The $500 funding round was a strategic pre-IPO round, and people involved expect the IPO to be “rewarding”.

WeDoctor began in the right way by focusing on solving critical problems facing Chinese patients, which enabled it to get traction and reach 5.5 billion USD in valuation. The company continues to transform the healthcare industry by leveraging technology to provide innovative solutions. It can be considered as a model for countries struggling with their healthcare services. While the IPO’s date hasn’t been specified yet, the company backing it, Tencent, has been doing well in the market. If the company continues on this trajectory of smart joint ventures and partnerships and eventually becomes listed, its valuation may exceed $5.5 billion, and may prove to be another Chinese hit for investors.

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