Medical, Pharmacy, Health Care : Marketing Best Practices in China

China’s healthcare industry is projected to be worth $2.4 trillion by 2030

Constant economic growth and well-being improvement in China has raised its citizens’ awareness of health-care new stakes and purchasing strengths. Health issues are even more evoked in 2017 because of tight schedules, pressures on work, and sometimes on social interactions, from growing needs for OTC Medicines like sleep aids or antibacterial remedies could help Chinese people to bear their heavy modern lifestyles where time is priceless. Other rises involve regular activities related to sports and fitness in which nutritious and healthy products are more coveted since Chinese sports institutions made some partnerships with international brands.

Healthcare Market in China

Many reports are predicting that the Chinese market will more or less exceed 1 Trillion $ in the next few years, while Chinese government specialists are even more fierce in their forecasts: the healthcare sector has high chances, considering its unprecedented fast pace of development, to weigh 1.4 to 1.5 trillion $ by the end of this decade. By now, investment in digital health sectors has contributed to the top of more than 1.6 billion at the end of 2016. A few elements that are driving the growth of Chinese digital health are quite similar to U.S recent reforms and investments.

The Pharmacy Medical, Pharmacy, and Health Care market in China is booming with 350 million middle-class consumers dramatically changing expectations and values when it comes to healthcare. Private healthcare has become a necessity for discerning Chinese who highly value this most important aspect of life.

health care market in china 2019 distribution

Healthcare status mapping

Two main reasons behind the ever-growing spending in Chinese consumers’ consent to healthcare products and services. With incomes increasing gradually over the years, they tend to demand more about the latest in medical treatment and services. In the same way, caring about a proper evolution of a balanced body and environmental issues has definitely convinced them on purchasing more, invest for long life and a better future. Opportunities are created for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device-related to new Tech. State-owned enterprise and deregulation of exchanges policies, two key points previously considered as half-banned due to government ironclad rules, are currently driving China’s digital health realm development.

There’s a real interest in the Chinese government to make the health market in China more accessible for private investments and foreign capital. As Chinese consumers infer that their local medicine is not really trustworthy, due to a few scandals on norms and utilization, they occasionally buy during travels or business trips abroad. Overseas investors and companies have the legitimacy and rights to enter China’s healthcare industry, establishing close partnerships with public institutions and investing in promising healthcare systems such as Augmented Reality for Education, the Internet of Things known as “smart devices”, Cognitive Computers, and so on.

In addition, the aging population of china is in need of more and more medical care increasing the demand significantly. Actually, 324 million Chinese will be over the age of 60 by 2027.

Private insurance is a good alternative in China

The Chinese government’s initiative of decreasing the regulatory barriers and tax incentives that quenched potential newcomers has been saluted by many international non-governmental organizations.  Private insurance has made up for the lack of contentment encountered by consumers in public insurance plans, as merely more than 52 percent of Chinese people recently surveyed, from the middle and upper class, show some signs of satisfaction.

This is a windfall for the private insurance sector. Even though it’s still oriented to have a supportive role for public plans and major projects dealing with large-scale illnesses, private insurance companies made their way by distinguishing their products from the public ones, emphasizing on Tech new trends related to trends. More close cooperation with public and private hospitals means a wider range of products, services, and at last new access solutions.

As it’s not really believable that healthcare institutions still communicate with paper and traditional methods including a feeble rate of less than 10% of hospitals worldwide and 14% in China.. These figures display the lack of more digitalized communication considering only a minority of hospitals have been able to exchange records through their digital systems.

Opportunities for Businesses  in the Health Care Market in China

The current situation shouldn’t be considered a drawback as long as the private insurance sector, in almost every country, is still in the first steps of a  technology-oriented disruption. That’s a tremendous challenge for the whole healthcare sector but also an inestimable opportunity to enhance innovation to meet patients’ needs and the individualization of care.

Although seeing a doctor may be faster in China compared to the U.S., the same for an appointment if patients are willing to pay a “special care” price to save time and go ahead to have the treatment as soon as possible. This privilege especially applies to complex treatments requiring more patience and time for an appointment ticket that could last for an undetermined period.

Opportunities for Startup in Health Care Medical, Pharmacy in China

China Health care Issues

There’s still a shortage of resources, and the distribution of equipment and beds is not efficiently organized to optimize time management for treatment and cure priorities.

In recent years, the lack of control has resulted in the multiplication of oversized public hospitals, some currently exceeding 10,000 hospital beds whereas the development of starter medical institutions has been jeopardized. Measures have been taken by the Government to curb this contrasted expansion, with ambitious objectives and forecasts.

Number of hospital beds for every 1,000 people
Public hospitalsPrivate hospitals
CurrentBy 2020CurrentBy 2020
china health care financing group

 New medicine for Tech oriented consumers: medical Apps

As an answer to these issues, more than 2000 mobile apps for healthcare have been launched, from simple medical advice to appointment booking, hoping in the middle-run tailored digital services that will release some pressure from overcrowded hospitals.

Digital health is basically the alchemy between healthcare and technology, a new actor has properly prepared his entrance on stage: Ping An Good Doctor.

It claims more than 27 million active monthly users and 75 million registered. Ping An received exclusive permission from the government to hold partnerships with outside companies that are willing to invest in domestic private insurers with an ironclad condition of non-exceeding 50% of their stake.

It works in both ways, Ping An has the privilege to invest in U.S. digital health companies, targeting their cutting-edge products while overseas competition is allowed with Chinese health companies. Widening its offers and services is another option like telemedicine or broadcast videos.

MedTech: Technology in the Health market in China

Aware of hospitals’ technology development U.S. searchers and start-ups put their effort into it, and Chinese Internet giants such as Alibaba, and Tencent have made their move on the chessboard. New roles are attributed, to investors and players, to regulate the healthcare sector and then remedy current medical issues or scandals that reinforced distrust and misjudgment. The search engine has flaws as Baidu is not as well handled, functionally and conditionally speaking, as Google. As a result, its flagship app Baidu Doctor has been forced to close due to funding problems.

E-Doctor Consulting, Elearning Business, Automedication

Deficiencies in online services show a great occasion has come. To prevent more companies to fail, We Doctor, a medical app launched by Tencent’s WeChat, offered more vertical services compared to Good Doctor, relying on advertising’s strengths and impact. With educational rigor, it enables connecting patients to doctors and appointment bookings, emphasizing this feeling “It’s way more convenient than booking and visiting an overcrowded hospital.” A fact in which Alibaba Health Information Technology intends to bring some improvements in expanding health insurance services, a fresh reminder of the unprecedented challenges this industry has ever faced.

Baby Boom aftermath: the continuous rise of Seniors

800 million represent Chinese consumers who use frequently their mobile phones for apps. A stronghold was largely taken by the young generation called “Millenials” in a hyper-connected society. From 18 to 37 years old, more than 90% have access to the internet in the country while older people are not connected at the same scale.

That displays the major predicament the country has to palliate in the next years. Adjusted strategy, reducing the gap in resource distribution, and regulating the aging process are the main issues at stake. People above 65 will probably represent 20% of the whole population, greatly due to the reduction of birth rate engaged a few decades ago. Deterrent solutions in cities like Guangzhou or Shanghai consist in reducing the credit rating for young adults who fail to respect their social work like paying some visits to hospitals.

In China, Doctors are Digitalized

More doctors are needed to warranty credible support to Chinese citizens in need with a feeble ratio of an average of 1.5 doctors for 1000 people. More local medicine students are keener on going abroad because of current regulations and better frameworks. A new challenge for the education sector, especially universities, consists in making Chinese medicine practices more valuable and less down to earth.

Meanwhile, providing the same solutions to every part of the whole population may seem unrealistic but not impossible. Concierge and telemedicine services, tailored information, and more reactivity are the further concern to rebuilding a new “Trust Act Agreement”. U.S. healthcare’s current system is quite working, Chinese institutions and medical experts have to drive their focus more on digital advancement, offline and online activities, and less mystery.

 Medical Tourism in China

It is very popular with wealthy Chinese to have Medical treatment outside of China. Most Chinese People are not satisfied with the treatment they may receive in China and do not trust Chinese Doctors, or Chinese Hospitals.

They use book Clinics in the US, In Japan, Switzerland, or Isreal to receive the best medical services.

Digital: the Key to Enter the Health Market in China?

The internet dominates the Health Market in China and is the priority if you want to enter this Health, Medical, and Pharmacy Market. Businesses in China have to grow their awareness and E-reputation as well as their product range and identify health benefits For Chinese Patients & Clients.

Digital Strategy is also the most effective solution offering ROI (Return On Investment)

Your Foundation: Online Support, Content, and Reputation

1. Website in Chinese/ Mobile App localized for China

Everybody understands that Brands and Health companies have started with a Chinese Website ( In Simplified Chinese). The positioning of this Website is important and Chinese patients & Clients Use to double-check the Official Website before any purchase.

Picture, Content Video is Vital to give a Good Impression.

Chinese Consumers like nice Content and like to read the explanation, testimonials of Doctors, and Explanations when it matters to health.

An APP, with having Mobile Application can also be a good strategy because many companies use it to Engage their Client’s Patients/customers via Mobile.

It is good to support, and quite hard to Promote in China;

2. E-reputation: the Key in China

Trust is the Key to Business in China

What do Chinese Patients buy? Trustful Companys, Trustful Solutions.

They will check Forums, Questions & Answers Portals, and Discussions on Social Media, Media. They are scared of Scams, and cheating Companies.

Problem: Chinese healthcare Businesses have cheated Chinese Patients, often with disastrous effects.

The Baidu Gate

Baidu Hospital Scandal; There was a huge scandal in China in 2016. The Baidu Gate.

Patients in China were searching for cancer Diseases treatments, and Found Scammer ( advertised by a Chinese Search Engine Baidu)

After this scandal, it has really clamped down on the health industry.

Source NYT 


Chinese regulators have imposed limits on the number of lucrative healthcare adverts carried by Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) following the death of a student who underwent an experimental cancer treatment which he found using China’s biggest Internet search engine

The solution to improve your E-Reputation in China?

It is vital for any Medical, Pharmacy, and Health Business to invest in its reputation and build trust between Chinese Patients and your Company. We Help Health Businesses with Forums Marketing, Question & Answers Communication, PR (public Relation or Press Relation)

3. Visibility & Awareness in China

Getting visibility is usually the next step for your Business Development

Search Engine Strategy is Vital in China because it is only when you have a health problem that you are interested in Healthcare Products, Medical Treatment, and Pharmaceutical Brands.

30% of the Total search on Baidu Is related to Medical Keywords

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. It is on Baidu. We are specialized in Getting Results, Positions, and traffic for our clients.

Medical Keywords are the most difficult keywords in China.

SEM: It is the Pay Per Click the SEA(Search Engine Advertising). It is usually quite expensive and not allowed for Foreign Companies in China, without a Chinese business license.


4. Social Media: How to Engage Chinese Patients / Consumers?

WeChat First Weibo Second, and other APP social networks Third.

Patient engagement in China is a healthcare marketing strategy that strives to improve Business outcomes and encourage better healthcare achievement at lower costs. It is an effective concept combining Chinese patient sensibilization and promotion. Chinese consumers want to be engaged in their Health decision-making process


It is the most used Social Network in China. WeChat has about 900 million active monthly users with the average user spending 2.5 hours per day. Businesses evidently have to develop a strong presence on the Number one Chinese APP.

How to Maximize your WeChat marketing?
  1. Create WeChat Account
  2. Optimize your WeChat account
  3. Create Push: Create Good content, a mix between Newsletter and Blog Posts.
  4. Promotion: Promote this content on WeChat via Group Shares, influencers, and WeChat advertising.

About Wechat Marketing


Weibo is the second most used Social Media in China. The mix between Twitter and Facebook, and Weibo allows Brand Communication with short messages & Pictures.

How to Maximize your Weibo Marketing?
  1. Create Weibo Channel
  2. Create Content: Create attractive content
  3. Promotion: Promote this content on Weibo via Events, Advertising, and KOL (key opinion leaders)
  4. Manage your community: reply to questions, and interact with your database of followers, and other Weibo accounts.

About Weibo.

5. Media: Public Relations

Every Healthcare Company has to use Media to Communicate in China. Corporate news publishes in Chinese Media brings trust and credibility to Health institutions.

We use to know the most Popular Health News & e-Magazine and have contacts with Many Journalists. Brands, institutions, and hospitals have to provide press releases, report and we help them to publish them to the Chinese e-Media.

  • Sohu health
  • Health 360,
  • News168

Chinese mainly read eNews and e-media in medicine.

6. Influencers Campaign

In China, like everywhere in this world, Influencers (or KOL key opinion Leaders) can be a great help to get the credibility of influential people and experts.

It is a Commun strategy to have an Engagement strategy among this group of Influencers.

How to Create a Great Influencers Campaign?

  1. Identify the Top Influencers,
  2. Create Great Support, interesting Material
  3. Contact them
  4. Get your publication
  5. Reuse their testimonial in your Social Media strategy, PR, and on your Website.

 7. E-Commerce in China First

Jingdong or is the most trustful e-commerce platform in China and the number one place to find real Products. We usually advise our clients in the Medical field to integrate this Platform.

How to sell on JD?
  1. Get credibility awareness first
  2. Apply to the platform
  3. Get approval and Build your JD store
  4. Manage your store
  5. Advertise on the platform
  6. Manage Customer services
  7. Sell and Optimize your results via Jd Ads and Special Event


Tmall or Tmall Global

Tmall is the leading E-Commerce platform in China. It is a really great platform for Leading Brands and leading Players.

How to sell on Tmall / Taobao?
  1. Have a strong Branding & E-reputation
  2. Apply to the platform
  3. Negotiate and get the Alibaba approval
  4. Build your Tmall store
  5. Manage your store, create a Products page
  6. Invest in Advertisement
  7. Set up great Customer Services, via Chat.
  8. Develop and Optimize your results via email Ads and Special Event
  9. wechat store


You can also develop a WeChat Store. It is a cheaper solution and easy to set up. It will be visible only on WeChat for your Community. It is a good way for small players to start selling in China.

Selling on Your Website?

no, it is usually a bad idea to sell on your Website, because 99.9% of Chinese buy only on a famous E-Commerce platform. It is easier, and safer and they can return the products if they do not like them.

They have a choice, and it is a habit now to search on Taobao, JD, or other Chinese Mobile apps like Kaola to find products.

 If you need Lead Generation, a website in Chinese is Necessary

Healthcare Innovative Marketing Strategy

We also provide innovative Solutions or Top advanced strategies to our clients.

  1. You are a Healthcare Company that wants to Enter the Chinese Market?
  2. You are a Medical player and want to boost your Business in China?
  3. You are a Medical Business (Hospital, Clinic … ) and want to attract Chinese Patients.

We are an experienced agency in Health, Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Products, and medical Solution

  • I invite you to have a look at our Case Study, and our Agency Website.
  • You can book a Meeting with our Consultant to have a better overview and how we can help you to Develop your Marketing in China.


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