Digital Healthcare in China

How much do you know about the digital healthcare revolution occurring in China?

Digital healthcare has grown exponentially over recent years as the demand for the standardization and digitization of healthcare, pharmaceutical services, and other medical services continues to rise.

This article will discuss the rise of digital healthcare in China, what has led to it, and how you can capitalize on this growing opportunity.


China’s Rise In the Medical Equipment Global Market

Local Businesses are Increasing Their Market Value

China’s digital healthcare market is split into two categories in its current iteration.

  • Foreign sourced manufactories, producing high-end products for brands like Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, and other market leaders.
  • Domestic manufacturers that provide low to mid-end products. It is estimated that this group makes up as much as 80% of the market.

Reading those statistics, you would be forgiven for thinking there is no room for foreign business in this market, as local companies heavily dominate the low-end products, and significant foreign investments cover the high-end products.

However, despite Chinese medical device manufacturers controlling the market, Chinese healthcare providers prefer imported devices, especially high-tech products. In China, more trust is placed in foreign brands for technical equipment due to past experience with Chinese-made goods.

Therefore, your brand certainly has space in the digital healthcare market within China, especially considering that China’s aging population demands better quality of care, more than the current local supply can support.

As with any industry, when demand usurps supply, you can be confident that there is space for you to enter the market.


Tremendous Room for Growth

In 2016, the total health expenditure only accounted for 5% of China’s GDP. Other countries such as Germany (11%), Japan (10%), Canada (10%), and the USA (17%) all have a more significant portion of health expenditure.


Total health expenditure China


With these figures alone, it is easy to see significant potential for further growth in this area.

Another example of this potential growth is in the medical device market. On average, the medical device market sits at around 42% of the size of pharmaceuticals worldwide, whereas it accounts for just 14% in China. This statistic shows just how much potential growth there is in the medical device industry in China.

As income levels continue to rise and the population ages, medical equipment requirements are at an all-time high. Chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are also on the rise, another reason why China is searching for more medical equipment suppliers.


Increasing Market Size

China’s demand for medical resources has increased exponentially over recent years. The Chinese economy is notorious for fast-paced growth, and the large gap between demand and supply will be rectified in the next ten years.

Therefore, it is the perfect time to try and fill that gap before another brand beats you to it.


Where has This Growth Come From?

Heavy Investment in Biotechnology

Over recent years, China has invested heavily in it’s their medical industry in an attempt to become a global market leader for products such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. As such, China has become one of the largest worldwide producers of antibiotics and a global leader in stem-cell research.

The investment has also seen several medical breakthroughs in genomics, neurobiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Due to this investment and the following results, the Chinese marketplace is now viewed as a market leader for medical products and services, another excellent reason to move your brand into this marketplace.


Digital Healthcare in China


Healthcare Changes

Another significant change that has led to substantial growth in digital healthcare in China is the changes they are making to their healthcare system. Recently, better health insurance, a new “Essential Drug List,” and hospital reform have helped China catch up with other companies and provide excellent health services across the country.

As a result, the market for digital healthcare has grown substantially. Chinese people who had never had access to medical care before now want digital healthcare quickly and easily.

Combined with the fact that China has one of the largest elderly populations, higher income than ever, and a requirement for better medicines and services, you can start to understand why there is so much demand in China for digital healthcare.


Potential Market Opportunities

As you can see, there are plenty of marketing opportunities in the Chinese medical industry. For example, there is a high demand for pharmaceutical products or over-the-counter drugs. Any brand that can set up manufacturing processes in China, with a strong marketing strategy behind them, could quickly become a market leader in this field due to the high demand and low supply. There is also a high demand for highly-advanced technical, medical support, such as digital x-ray equipment, surgical equipment, and artificial organs.

Before jumping into a new field, though, it is essential you understand the ins and outs of each industry and how digital marketing and sales work in China. For example, it can take 26 months for a drug to get approved in China, including quality testing, clinical trials, and other slow processes.  There are also factors to consider when establishing marketing strategies within the Chinese market. Consumers operate on different platforms in western countries, and the SEO algorithm is significantly more detailed than Google, for example.


Marketing Channels Available in China

There are several marketing channels that you need to utilize to ensure success in the Chinese marketplace.


Website Localization

Regardless of your products or services, your website needs to be the center of your brand and offer insightful and quality content.

Content is essential in the health industry as it helps consumers understand you have knowledge in the field. Your website should also be formatted in the local language to show your commitment and connect with Chinese customers.

Digital Healthcare China Web localization

Baidu SEO

China implements many rules on what its consumers can access online. One website that is not allowed is Google; instead, Chinese consumers use Baidu. The principles of the website are similar to Google, but the SEO requirements are much more detailed.

A Baidu SEO agency knows all of the intricacies of how to get your content to rank well on the website and reach more potential customers.


Public Relations

Official media channels are essential for communication with potential clients in China. A good PR agency in China has access to the leading health and well-being outlets to help promote your brand to your target audience.


WeChat and Weibo

WeChat is China’s most used social media app and has over 900 million active users. It is essential for any brand to create a lot of brand awareness on WeChat for success in the market. A WeChat agency will help create and optimize your WeChat account and develop content that will help bring more customers to your brand.

Weibo is the second largest social media app and is the equivalent of Twitter and Facebook combined. It allows brands to communicate with customers via images and short messages. A Weibo agency will help create your official channel, develop engaging content, and successfully promote it to build your brand on the channel.


Digital Healthcare China WeChat marketing



Tmall is one of the top eCommerce platforms in China. It is a fantastic platform for anyone who wants to become a market leader.

To sell successfully on Tmall, you need a strong Tmall partner that can implement your branding, negotiate Alibaba approval, build your store, and help optimize your performance.


Final Thoughts on Digital Healthcare in China

It is clear that there is a massive demand for digital healthcare in China right now, and any brand that can fill that void is sure to see immediate and long-lasting success. Once you have established the product or service you will offer to make your mark on the Chinese marketplace, get in touch with us, and we can help create the perfect tailored marketing plan, using our expertise in Chinese digital marketing to get your brand name out there.



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