JD & Alibaba, battle of the Chinese Online healthcare Platforms

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and has led to a change in the perspectives and needs of the Chinese population. Healthcare is the sector that was affected the most. During the Covid-19 outbreak, online health consultation services saw a surge in demand. The pandemic has had a ‘revolutionary impact’ on healthcare as both patients and doctors are now more willing to search and provide care on the internet That is why Alibaba and JD, the two Chinese e-commerce giants, launched Alibaba Health and JD Health. In China, hospitals are quite crowded and the distribution of drugs and medical supplies outside major cities is not efficient. Online consulting with Chinese-speaking physicians is popular among families who live in the North-west and cannot easily reach hospitals.

JD Health’s debut on the Hong Kong stock market

JD Health Mini-program

On December 8, 2020, JD Health skyrocketed on its debut on the Hong Kong stock market after raising HK$27 billion in the biggest initial public offering in the financial hub this year. JD Health raised $ 3.48 billion and earned an initial valuation of $ 29 billion. JD’s IPO was Hong Kong’s largest this year, followed by the $ 2.05 billion listings of China Bohai Bank Co in July.

JD Health CEO described the listing as a “new starting point”. JD Health aims to provide “convenient and accessible” medical services after a challenging year for the health sector. JD Health’s total revenue reached 8.8 billion Yuan in the first half of 2020 from 5 billion Yuan in the same period in 2019.

JD Health vs Alibaba Health: differences and similarities

They both offer lots of services, reaching from day and night delivery of medicines, sale of consumer health services like plastic surgery, online diagnosis for patients, to digital solutions for hospitals (like appointment-booking) and advertising services for drugmakers.

Alibaba Health began as an investment portfolio of the e-commerce firm and grew into a subsidiary over the years. JD Health, on the other hand, was split from JD.com in 2019.

In terms of revenue sources, both companies rely mostly on the sales of medicines and other healthcare products like vitamin supplements.

Alibaba Health

  • Alibaba Health has a revenue of 7 billion yuan or $1.07 billion; while JD Health 8.8 billion yuan or $1.35 billion.
  • Even if Alibaba Health has generated less revenue, the platform enjoys a larger user base. In 2020, 250 million users made purchases through the online pharmacy of Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer marketplace.
  • Meanwhile, Alibaba Health’s direct-to-consumer drugstore saw 65 million annual active users. In comparison, 72.5 million people had at least made one purchase through JD Health’s platform in the past year.

Both platforms provide online health consultation services, which saw a surge in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. Alibaba Health had a network of over 39,000 doctors, compared to JD Health’s team of over 65,000 doctors.

Are you a health company that is interested in the Chinese healthcare market? Take advantage of the digital trend that is characterizing also this sector. But before working on your e-reputation.

When we speak about health in China, think e-reputation

In order to conquer Chinese people’s trust, in a sector that experienced years of swindles and scandals, you have to look professional and skilled. How can you manage this hard task?

You have to be present and visible on the Chinese digital platforms. The more you adopt an Omni-channel strategy the more you will look legit and it will give you more authority.

The first step is absolutely Baidu, the equivalent of Google in China. Because of the “Great Firewall” the platforms and search engines that we normally use in the West do not work in China, so you have to start from zero in this country. The investment you will do in building your reputation in China is the best investment you can do.

Baidu offers visibility to your health company. Just follow some tips

  • Baidu gives greater visibility to websites in Mandarin Chinese, and this will help your website to receive more traffic and more SEO, so create content only in Chinese;
  • Censorship is very restrictive in China, so it is imperative to know what you must avoid publishing;
  • Baidu gives much more importance to the number of links on your website than to the quality to which they refer. Your presence on the Chinese web and the importance of connections is an important fact to show your relevance in the sector;
  • If your website contains keywords in Mandarin Chinese that hold direct links to other sites, Baidu’s crawling system will be able to find it more easily, and it will assign you a better rank in the search results.
  • Baidu is very strict when it discovers duplicated content, so create always unique and original content;
  • Have a Chinese host;
  • To have success in marketing campaigns on Baidu, it is very effective to create a strategy that combines SEO and SEM, as both have an important weight in the visibility results that the platform algorithm attributes;
  • Baidu clearly rewards those who use the platform in all its forms, from its Wikipedia, which is known as Baidu Baike, to Baidu Zhidao (a sort of ask.com) to its social network Baidu Tieba rather than Baidu Shopping. Being present and interacting with the platform is an important way in order to position yourself in a good way.

Zhihu: the perfect platform for your health company to go undercover

On Zhihu, Chinese people ask advice for the better clinic

Chinese people love to consult forums and Q&A platforms to look for reviews and to read about other consumers’ experiences, especially when having to choose who entrusts their health. They rely more on these kinds of reviews than on common advertising. There are many: Zhihu, Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Tieba, Wenwen, and more.

Zhihu is one of the platforms you can use to take advantage of the power of community and word of mouth in China. It is the biggest Chinese platform of questions and answers and it is mainly employed by well-educated and rich netizens. It is the primary channel for users to learn expert insights on various topics from corresponding professionals.

Zhihu’s position as a producer and sharer of valuable content presents a unique offering to brands, like health companies, that have a lot of information and expertise they can share with users.

Being present on Zhihu will allow you to answer questions about your field but also to educate your target audience about your products or services in an undercover way. It is an excellent tool to increase your conversion rate and to generate awareness about your brands.

Remember that without a good reputation in China, you will not have any chance to win the competition.

gma agency

Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a Digital Marketing Agency that is an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We are a growing team of 75 marketers with a passion for China and digital marketing.

Contact us to discuss your project in the healthcare sector.

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