Chinese start-up strives to become giant health care e-tailer

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese start-up strives to become giant health care e-tailer
WeDoctor, a $6 bn (€5.1 bn) China-based company hopes to lead the way when it comes to online health retail.

E-commerce outlet, WeDoctor, aims to upgrade the personal care space by leveraging its position as a technology giant to disrupt and improve the industry for consumers.

The Tencent-supported company plans to overcome boundaries and hurdles in the Chinese health care system, which is predicted to hit 8 tn yuan (€1.03 tn) by the year 2020.

AI in health detection and treatment

Experienced in artificial intelligence (AI), Jerry Liao Jieyuan set up the company in 2010. Providing online follow-up consultations, physician-staffed clinic appointments and drug prescriptions, it is now concentrating on building its AI in data to help detection.

Looking towards an IPO as early as 2019, WeDoctor has also built its following to 160 million registered users and uptake to reach a valuation of $5.5 bn (€4.7 bn), NDTV reported​.

The Chinese health care company has also developed a game focusing on treating ailments and conditions that provide a helpful function to consumers as they answer questions and provide answers.

Market value

In May 2018, WeDoctor Holdings finalised a $500 mn (€425 mn) pre-IPO round. AIA Company led the round while existing investor, China Capital Zhongcai Fund Management, also participated, China Money Network reported​.

WeDoctor also teamed up with IDS Medical Systems Group, a medical supply chain provider, in February 2018. The duo will now create a medical supply chain and procurement entity.

"The industry is still in its early stage, so hard to say which one has the most potential,"​ said Leon Qi, head of Asian financials research for Daiwa Capital indicated via reports.  

Big data and technology

"While internet companies have an advantage in their online user traffic, we see offline players, either supported by financial institutions or other conglomerates, have edges in their offline distribution and offline medical resources. Hence we do not see it as a 'winner takes all' business,"​ Qi added.

Gilbert Ho, a senior director at NWS Holdings, a New World unit, outlined one main reason why WeDoctor is tipped to be such a success: “The sheer demand for better and more convenient health care treatment. WeDoctor also has the advantage to understand users with its big data and technology.”

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