China’s healthcare needs are growing. At present, China's healthcare resources are unevenly distributed: China's major cities have the majority of access to healthcare resources, while the Chinese countryside has limited services and people who live in rural areas are unable to afford healthcare. Currently, the Chinese government needs private capital to improve the services that the government has to provide to the population.
According to the McKinsey Patient & Physician Survey 2012, about 30 per cent of the Chinese urban citizens currently pay for a private health insurance, while another 20 per cent are planning to sign up for it in the future. Despite these survey’s results, many Chinese people still prefer state hospitals rather than private clinics.
Joshua Kurtzig, director of special projects at United Family Healthcare, part of the Chindex group, said that Chinese consumers so not trust the private sector yet, even though it is playing an important role in China's healthcare industry.
China now provides the funds for basic medical coverage to 97 per cent of it population; according to accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCooper's 2013 report, Investing in China's private healthcare system. It also decreased individuals’ share of out-of-pocket payments for healthcare services from 60 per cent of total costs in 2001 to 35 per cent in 2011.
In September, the government announced that seven private hospitals, solely owned by foreign investors, could open in seven cities and provinces in China. Healthcare provider Columbia China, which already has 25 hospitals across Southeast Asia, has plans for two general community hospitals in Wuxi and Changzhou, to be completed in four years' time.
The openness to foreign investment will create new competition between public and private facilities, driving efficiency in both.The medical system in China was controlled by public medical institutions for a long time, leading to problems such as lack of competition, uneven resource distribution, poor service and underdeveloped technology, as well as frequent disputes between doctors and patients.
That’s why the government attempts to reform the medical system which exhibits great market potential. In fact, foreign investors are particularly interested in China’s hospital sector which (like hospitals across Asia) offer especially attractive margins. These policies are keys to continue driving the company’s growth.
The gLAWcal Team
Friday, November 7, 2014