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Health Environment in China - fast forward


Health Environment in China - fast forward

Dieser Artikel ist derzeit nur in englischer Sprache verfügbar.

“As Heaven’s movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman ceaselessly strive along.” – Zhou Yi

Shanghai, 2019, an office lady stood in a chain cafe known for its trendiness and healthy concepts, staring at the pleasantly colorful energy bowl on the menu, which would cost her almost 80 yuan. The guy behind her was looking up at the daily energy veggie and fruit juice on the blackboard. He just finished his exercise at a Chinese fitness chain, which has recently been acquired by a well-known luxury group. The popular fitness app on your phone somehow opened up their physical gym. And the yoga photos popped up in my Wechat moments shared by my college friends has become my unique reminder.

Photo by Quan Shan

Among all the fast-growing industries in China, “health” is one of the hottest. The pursuit of healthiness and fitness, or in other words, decent and refined appearances, is becoming another competition for social status labels.

“People in today’s world are mindful of their health management. In recent years, Chinese people pay special attention to sports to prevent illness. The years 2009 to 2014 have seen the number of Chinese people who regularly participate in physical exercise on constant rise, reaching up to almost 400 million. The huge population who exercise will bring about a significant demand in the fitness industry”. – RET Official WeChat Account

In addition to the pursuit of a well-build body, environmental-protection has also become a trend in China. The use of sustainable materials or recycled solutions of some brands has become a moral safeguard for consumers, and also a new marketing hype for these companies. It has helped both sides to fulfill their social duties in the times of excessive consumption, along with relentless warnings that the global environment is threatened by humans.

Photo by Quan Shan

The massive demand for personal health and environmental protection signals  changes in the market and products. Here I have summarized five major observations and trends regarding the health environment in China, as a reference for companies aiming to enter the Chinese market.

1) Unstable overall environment and healthcare system

The non-conforming vaccine incident in 2018, the pork food safety crisis earlier this year, and  the irreversible environmental damage caused by the explosion of the chemical factory in Jiangsu…These frequent occurrences have led to the decline of public trust in the enterprises and overall environment. On the other hand, it also meant that the market is in urgent need of wellness and healthcare companies offering products and services with innovation and high quality.

In addition, due to the country’s late development of modern healthcare system and hospital management, there exist various problems that cause the lack of trust of patients. For example, according to Baidu Baike, China’s healthcare management model isn’t fully adapted to the transformation of modern medical model, and the wrong practice of completely separating treatment from  prevention is basically uncorrected; the legal system is not perfected to keep up with the medical quality, etc. One important detail was the hand hygiene of medical personnels. Back in 2012, Wilddesign has co-developed an “IF” design award-winning medical monitoring tool with General Sensing in Hong Kong, that could track and improve hand hygiene, therefore reducing the chances of infection or even death.

2) Demand increase in the health insurance industry

“As national health awareness has grown, China’s health insurance market has developed swiftly. After 5 years of continuous growth, China’s health insurance density was RMB 316 per person, and health insurance depth was 0.53% in 2017. The optimistic forecasts suggest the premium income of China’s health insurance market will reach RMB 1.3 trillion by 2020. ”  

EY also pointed out in the paper that “accelerating urbanization and a burgeoning middle-class are increasing the demand for high-quality and diversified commercial health insurance”.  The pursuit of health has raised concerns, and these concerns have led to the rapid development of the insurance industry. Nevertheless, the existing health insurance products and ecological integrity haven’t kept up with the massive market demand.  There is still much room for improvement in terms of customer research, product differentiation and innovation, database standardization, and the establishment of policies and hospital ecosystem.

3) Rehabilitation market derived from fitness habits

“As more and more people are into sports, cases of injuries have increased”. Yao Qun, a hand surgeon, said that in the past, cases of upper limb injuries caused by exercise, work or labor were quite frequent in clinical practices, accounting for about 30% of the outpatient volume. They mainly consist of three types of person: athletes injured in competitive sports, general public injured in regular sports and daily life; old people with degenerative diseases in joints and tendons due to their age. – Wuxi Daily  

Earlier this year,  a local media in Wuxi reported that there are a growing demand in the sports rehabilitation market. In this new first-tier city, those that regularly participate in physical exercise account for about 40% of the total population, reaching a total of 2.6 million. RET media also pointed out that according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of people who regularly participate in physical exercise will reach 435 million by 2020. This uplifting data will indirectly affect the market demand for rehabilitation medical supplies, and both the software, the professional services, and the hardware, the  medical devices, will be needing improvement.

Take for example the sports medical tools that Wilddesign and Rejoin collaborated on for the past three years. From branding to product design, we have given everything a careful polish in order to help our client build up a highly professional and quality-assured image, to help consumers pick up their confidence in national brands and domestic environment.

4) Medical Cosmetology driven by the pursuit of beautiful appearances

As mentioned in the beginning, more to the the fitness trend is the pursuit of good looks, which has become a national phenomenon. People are not only aiming for a well-built body, but also a refined look of the face. Medical cosmetology is one of the industries benefiting from this trend. According to China Medical Cosmetology O2O Market Analysis published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in September 2018, the size of China’s medical cosmetology market reached RMB 1,925 in 2017, with a compound growth rate of 22% between 2013 to 2017; it is expected to reach RMB 481 billion in 2022.

Just like the fitness market, such astounding market will be facing the needs of software and hardware upgrade. Wilddesign has designed a powerful product with classic Scandinavian aesthetics for a forward-looking Sino-Danish startup Ydunvie back in 2014, which won an IF design award.

5) Overall innovation and capital investment

Many industries in China are in the process of transitioning from OEM (Original Equipment Manufactures) to ODM (Own Designing & Manufacturing) or OBM (Original Brand Manufacture), the medical industry included. The cure for the transitioning “pain” requires a large amount of capital investment, be it the replacements of technical talents or hardware equipment. According to the article “Over Hundreds of Billions of Dollars are Pouring into China’s Medical and Healthcare Market” published by McKinsey & Company on the 2018 China Point, the total venture capital investment in China’s medical and healthcare industry reached 12 billion USD in 2017, with 478 case of investment projects. Therefore the average investment per case is about 25 million USD”. Capital investment encourage more entrepreneurs and companies to master the soft power of original technology, product design and branding.

The five health environment trends will become a significant consideration for foreign companies planning to enter the Chinese market. When policies start to slow down and lean towards the medical industry, and overall capital becomes sufficient, what role will these companies play? How to develop a targeted strategy making full use of market vacancies and needs? How to find the right place in this ever-growing market? Just as the saying goes, “As Heaven’s movement is ever vigorous, so must a gentleman ceaselessly strive along”.

*References  (Source articles in Chinese)

McKinsey and Company

Over Hundreds of Billions of Dollars are Pouring into China’s Medical and Healthcare Market

Why Healthcare is leading the next major innovations in China

CBN Data

Report on Chinese Household Healthcare and Wellness Consumption Trend 2019

Huxiu – RET

China Fitness Industry Report: Who are exercising? How much are they spending on Average?

Commercial “Dopamine” | Full interpretation of China’s fitness industry 2018

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