ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the controversial video blogging platform TikTok, quietly took control of China’s largest chain of private maternity hospitals in June.
This South China Morning Post (South China Morning Post) on Friday reviewed documents showing ByteDance had taken full ownership of Beijing Ankang Medical Management Company.
This completes the acquisition process that began in September 2021, when ByteDance’s healthcare investment subsidiary Xiaohe HealthTech acquired a 17% stake in Amcare. Xiaohe later bought another 13%. Amcare recently withdrew from the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, paving the way for the final stages of the company’s acquisition.
In mid-June, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation unconditionally approved the acquisition deal. South China Morning Post Report. Several ByteDance executives quickly appeared on Amcare’s board.
ByteDance is clearly seeking to gain a foothold in China’s growing market for online healthcare services, which have been hugely popular during the coronavirus pandemic. ByteDance’s Xiaohe unit launched two medical apps in late 2020: an online “medical consultation” app for those seeking medical services, and a matchmaking app for verifying the credentials of doctors who wish to provide themselves as providers.
This South China Morning Post Citing estimates, online healthcare was a 22 billion yuan industry in 2020, but will grow to 198 billion yuan ($29 billion) by 2025. Most of China’s tech giants are entering the market, including heavyweights such as Tencent and Alibaba.
Likewise, Amazon.com get Last month, One Medical, a chain of 188 clinics, set its sights on building an online service that would be the clinic’s digital “front door.”
Amazon’s corporate planners believe they can greatly improve the clinic’s “consumer experience,” presumably by handling all office functions and paperwork online, thereby reducing the time patients spend on-site waiting to see a doctor.
China’s online healthcare system include Some remote interactions between doctors and patients, sometimes completely eliminate the need for patients to visit a brick-and-mortar clinic. Before the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, a pioneering project called Wuzhen Internet Hospital provided patients with online diagnosis and direct delivery of medicines. Wuzhen Internet Hospital maintains a minimum physical facility that complies with Chinese law, with only 20 beds for the entire operation.
China’s booming online healthcare market get hit In November 2021, the Chinese government issued a stricter set of rules, including a ban on the use of online consultations for initial diagnosis and the use of artificial intelligence systems to answer patient questions in place of qualified human doctors.
Apparently, these practices are widespread, as online healthcare providers lose as much as 30% of their stock value overnight. Chinese state media hinted that more regulations on prescription drug sales and user privacy could be introduced, further dampening the industry.