In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese patients have been traveling overseas for healthcare services. While this can be costly, many patients feel that the quality of care available abroad is well worth the extra expense. There are a variety of reasons for this trend, but one of the most important is the growing concerns over the quality and safety of healthcare in China. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why Chinese patients are traveling abroad for healthcare and what factors are driving this trend. We’ll also explore some of the challenges and opportunities associated with providing healthcare services to Chinese patients overseas.
- To sum up the China Outbound Medical Tourism Market:
- Over half a million outbound medical travelers a year
- They spend over 10 bn USD on Treatment and Travel
- Health care is one of the first concerns of the wealthy Chinese class (HNWI)
Now or Never
Wealth, Age, and Lifestyle Diseases are the main reasons behind the booming of Outbound Medical Tourism in China. By 2024 There will be over 108 mn more urban Chinese aged 40-64 in 2024, and 57 mn more aged 65+, these groups suffer more and more from lifestyle diseases and, as mentioned earlier, will seek treatment abroad; This is the biggest new wave in medical tourism ever seen, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for international healthcare providers to build the foundations of their China entry strategy.
The biggest source markets in China for Ctrip’s outbound medical tourists were the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, together with the second-tier cities of Tianjin and Hangzhou—likely a reflection of the average level of affluence among these cities’ residents.
Digital Approach, The Only Way to Target Chinese Patients
As an overseas Healthcare provider, whether you are a Clinic, Hospital, Medical Facilitator, Private Doctor, etc. The main thing you need to start doing business properly in China is Trust.
Chinese (Mandarin) Website
The Website is your main channel of contact. This is where people will send their inquiries, read official information about you, and see that you are a real company (see below why it’s important).
The main question is why in Mandarin:
- Technical Reason: Easier to do SEO in Baidu for Mandarin Pages
- Marketing Reasons: 80% of the searches conducted on Baidu are conducted in Mandarin Keywords (Netizens are literally expecting every business to have a Chinese Website)
E-Reputation is the Backbone
Chinese Patients are scared
Chinese patients have been victims of many fake hospitals, fake service providers, fake medicines, etc. They have reached a point where they don’t trust what a “Company” says about itself. They do want to see an Official Website as an official channel to contact you, but what will make them contact you in the first place is trust and they gain it through recommendations; What other Chinese Patients say about you.
They have developed an extensive network of channels where they share their experience with these types of healthcare service providers or where they ask questions about certain suitable destinations to treat specific diseases. Having a couple of conversations in these Forums, Blogs, and Q&A is the cleverest move you might take. Because if you wait for a natural reputation to build up in a very big market like China, you will wait for a long time. This will fasten up the process of Lead Generation, it all starts with Trust.
In order to have a Healthy e-Reputation, you have to balance the previously explained “Under-Cover Marketing” with Official Communication; here we mean Online Press Release. China offers a huge range of PR platforms to choose from and doesn’t have to be always related to your industry as long as your target is there.
A Website without SEO is useless
Working on Ranking your website high in Baidu is the only way for making it visible. Ranking only on very general keywords will take you a lot of time to see results.
Such as ranking on “整形外科泰国 – plastic surgery Thailand”, do you know how many Healthcare providers are ranked on this keyword? At least half of them are not even in Thailand and using it to rank due to the keyword’s popularity.
Have a balanced approach, Combine short, mid, and long-term keywords. Yes, SEO is a natural ranking and takes time, but if you do a mixture of non-competitive keywords, fairly competitive keywords, and very competitive keywords, you can have results in the short, mid, and long term. Especially than Ads on Baidu are forbidden for Healthcare-related keywords due to the past several scams and fake companies.
Social Media in China
A necessity if you are here for a fairly long period of time. I choose not to detail this part very much as we need a dedicated article for Chinese Social Media and Medical Tourism.
Keep in mind that you don’t need “All the other stuff” that you hear here and there. What has been listed above what do you need to Generate Leads?
Take a step forward, it’s different, and challenging, but not impossible.
Digital Marketing Agency specializing in the Chinese market. We help Medical companies to develop in China.
I’ll be more than happy to get in touch with you if you think China is for you.