The China healthcare market is under the spotlight. As local healthcare providers struggle to meet the demand, there are opportunities lying for foreign health firms granted they are smart about it. In this post, we first introduce you to the driving segments of the industry, followed by a step-by-step guide to gaining the trust of Chinese healthcare seekers through their favorite channels.
China is changing, more and more people are concerned about their health. The reduction of the closure of The people of China is changing. They’re more concerned about their health than ever before, and this has led them toward a different type of lifestyle that’s not always so deeply rooted in tradition anymore. Healthcare, medical and pharma brands should take advantage of the Chinese citizens’ growing awareness to develop their presence in that country. The internet has allowed many people access information about various aspects including health care which means it’s time for you to get ahead by embracing this opportunity!
China’s Health Market was estimated at about 94 billion yuan in 2020, a noticeable growth when compared with 2019 revenue (+26 billion!) – growth that was accelerated by covid-19. China’s health care sector is developing at an incredible rate: Health expenditures in the country went from 500 billion RMB to 6.5 trillion in 2019. All the products are covered, from pharmaceuticals to medical products for consumer health, China remains among the world’s most attractive markets, and by far the fastest-growing of all the large emerging ones.
It is not surprising that multinationals are flocking to take advantage of the opportunities. But long-term success is certainly not guaranteed in this complex market. The overall outlook for China’s healthcare market is optimistic, however, multinationals will find it harder to compete with a more distinct separation between success stories and failed attempts to crack this lucrative market. Late entrants still may struggle so now it’s time for you to invest.
China Healthcare Marketing is Booming
The healthcare market in China is booming with 750 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. Healthcare products are in “vogue” in China and especially ‘international’ products. The foreign offerings in this industry are often associated as a byword for quality. And when it comes to healthcare this quality is absolutely key.
More Wealth is leading to an increase in medical & Health related Spendings
Chinese customers can now pay more for healthcare with GDP still growing year on year. There will be no slow down in this market as the Chinese avidly embrace international health products in new and interesting ways. Indeed Vice Premier Li Keqiang himself said the healthcare industry has now entered “uncharted waters.”
More and more Chinese families are beginning to care about the safety and quality of their products, and they are likely to spend more to ensure good quality in the healthcare market in China. As a matter of fact, 96% of the Chinese population are now paying into China’s national basic healthcare system!
A Quest for a New Life style that Requires New Health Solutions
Constant economic growth and well-being improvement in China has raised its citizens’ awareness around health care’s new stakes. Health issues are not ignored anymore in a society where the environment and pressure to perform is impacting the health of its citizen and the sales of OTC Medicines like sleep aids or antibacterial remedies could help Chinese people to bear their heavy modern lifestyles where time is priceless.
What are some elements Driving China Healthcare Market?
China Air & Water Pollution is a real concern for Chinese Citizens
For many people in China, air pollution is a major problem. The country has been ranked as one of the most polluted on earth and there are areas that suffer from it more than others – which makes mentality change all the more important because these changes will affect everyone no matter where they live or what their profession may be and put an emphasis on health impact.
Air pollution in China is a serious problem that’s been causing 50 000 and 500 thousand premature deaths annually. It no doubt is a “health crisis”. Many Chinese people are turning away from the pollution of oil-powered cars and using electric alternatives. To protect themselves, they wear masks when outside, use air purifiers but this is not enough. Chinese citizens want a safe healthy lifestyle. They no longer want to live in a polluted environment.
The water in China is not safe for human consumption, and it’s a nationwide problem. The government has imposed regulations to reduce pollution but these measures take time. In the meanwhile, even if Chinese citizens can avoid drinking tap water, they still need it for a lot of other things: take a shower, brush their teeth, clean their dishes… One way to improve daily use of tap water is expensive & complex water filter, although these models are not widely chosen by citizen which prefers the cheap, easy options to install.
If citizens and government can take steps to prevent getting sick, this pollution threat is a real opportunity for health providers to help people already affected by it.
Obesity weights heavy on China’s Healthcare Market revenues
While Chinese citizens’ financial resources grow, so does their waistline. Obesity in China is becoming a real issue. The percentage of overweight or obese children has skyrocketed from 5 to 20 percent. For instance, in 2020, about 10.4 percent of children under 6 years in China were overweight or obese.
Because Chinese parents have only one child, they give all he wants to this only child. More wealth means the best purchase power, so they buy all the child asks. But now, they understand that there is an obesity issue. Families want to reduce obesity by investing their money in health products. They feel more concerned than before.
Chinese Eldest Health Expenditure is Skyrocketting
With the one-child policy in China, the number of old people increased, and so did the demand for senior care. There are more and more old people and fewer young people. Government helps the old people to take care of their healthcare by encouraging them to consume vitamins, health products and to choose western medicine practices. Most of these practices are covered by health insurance.
At the same time, more and more elders in China are thinking of walking away from the traditional path of staying home with their kids when they get pretty old and are envisaging nursing homes in an effort to stay socially active and have care available whenever needed. However, the number of nursing homes is not meeting the demands and still suffers from reputation issues.
Healthcare & Wellness Goods: Demands Foreign Companies Need to Meet
Not only health expenditure is growing in China but over the years, citizens have become more demanding and are seeking the latest medical treatment and services that the Chinese public system is not always able to offer.
Similarly, caring about a proper evolution of a balanced body and environmental issues has definitely convinced them to invest in long life and a better future and this is caviar, for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device-related to new tech.
Nb: The health sector is heavily regulated by China, and setting up your brand/firm will take time, but with the right partner and entry strategy, nothing is impossible.
Chinese Government is encouraging Chinese Citizen to fall back on Western Medicine (In part at least)
There’s a real interest for the Chinese government to make the health market in China more accessible to private investments, foreign capital, and care firms. Indeed, as the population health awareness grows, China’s public health system pain to catch up with the demands for care and it is especially obvious in segments such as elderly care or mental health.
Overseas investors and companies have the legitimacy and rights to enter China’s healthcare industry, establish close partnerships with public institutions, and invest in promising healthcare systems.
Healthcare, Medical Services and Pharmacy are evolving quickly in China
With more than 2000 mobile apps for healthcare in China, it is clear that the country has been trying to solve its problems with overpopulated hospitals and an inadequate supply of resources. The solution? Digital services are now being implemented as a way to release some pressure on crowded facilities while also providing tailored solutions where users need them most- such as appointment booking or simple medical advice from registered doctors and so on.
The success of medical-related apps palliates the lack of healthcare professionals in China, showing us that innovation, is one of the aspects that will be at the heart of the Chinese medical & wellness industry development.
- Foreign Health Firms have the Edge on Innovation (for now)
The Chinese market is more focused on expectations and demand than on the innovations that major pharmaceutical groups can bring to the market, especially in terms of medicines for the most common diseases. If innovation has definitely been at the center of priorities for Chinese health & pharmaceuticals companies, it’s still too early for them to answer the demand.
To compensate for this, many local groups are seeking partnerships with foreign pharmaceutical companies to develop unique and innovative pharmaceutical products. This solution allows for a win-win situation because it reduces the constraint faced by foreign companies when entering the Chinese market in the duration of the drug approval processes on the market, which may take more than 5 years.
- Biopharmaceutical Products: more and more popuar in China
Biopharmacie is more and more popular in China because it’s only a foreign therapy. It’s your differentiation criteria on this market. In a market where the unequal environment of populations is visible offering therapies that a large population can afford is the most suitable solution.
How can Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare firms Develop Their Company in China?
In China, Digital is the Answer
With over 900 million Chinese connected online what you have is the world’s largest, yet closed online system. Chinese platforms dominate and must be utilized by safe healthcare companies to grow their visibility and reputation as well as their product range and associated health benefits. Digital marketing is also the most cost-effective method offering a substantial Return on Investment.
THE KEY OF SUCCESS: ONLINE SUPPORT + QUALITY CONTENT + E-REPUTATION
Promote your Healthcare Services/goods with a Website in Mandarin
First of all, you have to create a Chinese Website (In Simplified Chinese). Your website also needs to be hosted in China to be visible on Baidu. Before any purchase and consulting demand, Chinese patients will search on Baidu information about your company. In a sector like healthcare, transparency is the most important criterion for consumers.
Pictures, content, videos are vital to give a good impression in Healthcare in China. Chinese consumers like quality content, read explanations, and doctors’ testimonies when it matters to health.
Having a Mobile Application can also be a good strategy, many health companies use it to engage their clients/patients via mobile.
Chinese Consumers have trust issues: the health sector is particularly Impacted
It is not uncommon for locals, Chinese healthcare companies to abuse the trust of Chinese consumers, with sometimes disastrous consequences. For instance, we remember this famous case where an individual was looking for cancer-related care and found inaccurate information advertised by a Chinese company on Baidu. This led Baidu to take action and clamped down on healthcare product quality offered via their platform, particularly with paid advertising that is now limited for pharma companies. That explains why Chinese consumers are very careful.
In the health care sector, a strong e-reputation is more important than ever to establish and reinforce trust.
In China, Your e-Repuation Is Everything
When it comes to healthcare Chinese research is more extensive than in any other sector. It is therefore vital to develop your e-reputation on forums, in the e-media, and on Baidu’s related platforms in order to instill trust, respect, and build a quality, loyal customer base.
There are a host of dedicated healthcare forums where consumers visit for advice and to discuss product recommendations. Here you need to create a positive sentiment that is from user to user, not just from your company itself. Chinese testimonials, references, and topics linked with recommendations are all vital. You also need to manage any potential negative comments or posts about the product from aggressive, local competitors.
Working on forum community management is a great way to boost your reputation and also rank highly in Baidu’s search results as these forums are highly ranked themselves, related content will thus appear on relevant keyword searches.
In China, it is vital for any medical, Pharmacy, and Health Business to invest in an e-reputation and build trust between Chinese patients and your company. We help Health Businesses with Forums Marketing, PR (Public Relation or Press Relations).
How to engage with Chinese Healthcare Seekers on Media
In China, you need to coverage media. Even if you are a health company and think it’s not useful for you. Because you are wrong, in China, being present in media is mandatory. You need to develop quality public relations to achieve this coverage.
- Content needs to be specific and adapted to the Chinese market linguistically. A direct translation into Mandarin Chinese does not work.
- Media exposure for health brands also needs to be targeted at the right communities. E-news sites such as sohu.com, 360, Tieba, and News168 all have threads devoted to health care and livelihood.
- Besides, having good public relations content featured is also beneficial for your ranking on Baidu.
Community Management & Word of Mouth
In China content going viral among targeted communities is highly possible because users are highly engaged and also simply because of the size of the Chinese internet. You need to take care of users’ interactions. Community feedbacks also need to be monitored and accessed. There is no point in engaging in intelligent marketing if you do not filter the content about your brand.
Focusing on forums, social media, Baidu visibility, and PR all together is the right combination for building a community around your health brand and using this as a launchpad for sales. Visibility and reputation in China are everything.
It’s important that people talk about you. It creates traffic and generates more visibility and interest.
Medical Apps for tech Oriented Consumers
We mentioned earlier, mobile apps selling medical services are numerous in China. Digital health is basically the alchemy between healthcare and technology
For instance, the app Ping An, 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 willing to invest with an ironclad condition of non-exceeding 50% of their stake.
Online Appointement Booking
WeDoctor, a medical app launched by Tencent’s Wechat, offered more vertical services compared to Good Doctor, relying on advertising’s strengths and impact. With an educational rigor, it enables to connect 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.
Chinese people when they are sick try first to find information on the internet to solve their problems. It’s one of the consequences of a very connected country. If you are a doctor and are able to set up an online diagnosis for your consumers, you will be more attractive than your competitors. Chinese consumers, as I explained before, are trapped in a fast-working environment, time is becoming a problem in a society where each minute counts.
Online medicine is the perfect solution for them. They don’t need anymore to wait hours in a crowded hospital, trying to be patient. You can provide your diagnosis online. You also can set up a chatbot to speak with your patients. The patient may explain his issue and through the chatbot, you or a robot can answer and advise a medical solution to the patient. If you are able to do that you will be quickly popular and will evict your competitors because for now, few companies offer that medical solution.
If you can provide good advice and answers to specific questions, you will become quickly the number one of these markets. You need to show your online patients that you know what you are talking about. Trust in China, more than in the other countries is a very important criterion, due to all the scandals, they no longer trust companies.
Engage with Chinese Healthcare Seekers on Social Media
China is a country addicted to social media platforms. In China, you can find a lot of social media platforms, some more specifics than the others but all very popular. The most popular platforms which number the large majority of the Chinese users are Wechat and Weibo.
Social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Social media allow you to gain visibility and create a close relationship with your Chinese patients.
Patient engagement in China is a healthcare marketing strategy that strives to improve business outcomes. It is also useful to encourage patients to join this new way of medicine at lower costs. It is an effective concept combining Chinese patient sensibilization and promotion. As in all the levels of the customer’s relation, Chinese consumers want to be engaged in their health decision-making process.
Conquer the Chinese Healthcare Market with the Help of WeChat
Wechat has more than 1 billion active users with the average user spending 2.5 hours per day. I don’t need to explain to you that it’s essential to have your own WeChat Official Account. Businesses have to develop a strong presence on the Number one Chinese APP.
How to Maximize your results with Wechat Marketing
- The first step is to create your Wechat Official Account because for Chinese people it’s a trust criterion. Wechat will ask you a lot of information to be sure that you are the real brand and not an imposter. Users know that, so when Wechat provides an Official Account to a health brand, they know that it’s the real one.
- Optimize your Wechat Official Account: Write creative and interesting contents. Chinese users are curious, don’t bore them.
- Push your attractiveness: Create good content, mix between Newsletter and Blog Posts.
- Promote this content on Wechat via Group Shares, influencers, and Wechat advertising.
Wechat is an amazing and complete social media app. The social media platform can provide you with a lot of other services, dedicated to businesses to improve their visibility in China. Working with specialists on Wechat can help you to be very effective in China.
Weibo Marketing is a Great for Medical Firms in China
Weibo is the second most used Social Media in China. It’s a mix between Twitter and Facebook but in better. Weibo is very popular because it’s the first place where Chinese people can express themselves. The platform, of course, suffers a bit of censorship but not so much that’s why people like Weibo.
For health brands, it’s also an interesting platform, because Weibo allows brands to communicate with short messages & pictures. And on Weibo, no need to be connected with people or brands to see the content. The content is in public access.
How to maximize your results with Weibo Marketing?
- Create your Weibo Official Account (for the same reasons as Wechat).
- Create attractive and interesting content to be shared.
- Promote this content on Weibo via Event, Advertising, and KOL (key opinion leaders)
- Manage your community: reply to questions, interact with your database of followers, and other Weibo accounts.
Get more Chinese Patients Through Trusted Chinese Influencers & Kols
In China, like everywhere in this world, influencers (or KOL: Key Opinion Leaders) can be a great help to get more credibility.
It’s a common strategy to have an engagement strategy among this group of influencers. In Chine, influencers are very powerful. Users trust them more than brands due to all the scandals. Your brand will not be an exception that’s why a collaboration with a KOL can help you.
How to run great influencers campaigns in China?
- Identify the Top Influencers and find the influencers who match the best with your health company.
- Contact them and set the terms of the collaboration.
- Create great and creative supports
- Get your publication
- Re-use testimonials of the influencers in your social media and public relation strategy on your website.
Take Advantage of Chinese eCommerce Platforms to Sell Health Goods in China
In China, Health and Pharmacy companies have to sell their products on e-commerce platforms such as JD or Tmall.
Why? Because this platform is very popular and only sells a quality product. You can’t find counterfeits on JD or Tmall. These two platforms only accepted high-quality brands that have a good image and a good e-reputation.
Sell your Healthcare products and services in China on JD.com
Jingdong or JD.com is the most trustful e-Commerce platform in China. It’s the number one place to find real health and pharmaceutical products. We usually advise our clients in the Medical Field to integrate this platform.
How to sell on JD.com?
- Get credibility awareness first because as I explained to you before, JD and Tmall only accept brands with awareness in China.
- Apply on the platform and get approval to build your JD store.
- Manage your store.
- Advertise on JD platform.
- Manage your customer service, it’s very important in China. Answer questions, find solutions, adapt your approach to your consumers.
- 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 really a great platform for Leading Brands and leading Players of the Health and Pharmaceutical market.
How to sell on Tmall?
- Have a strong branding & e-reputation is the first step.
Apply to the Tmall platform, negotiate and get the Alibaba approval.
- Build your Tmall store.
- Manage your store, create a Products page.
- Invest in Advertisement.
- Set up great customer service, via chats.
- Develop and Optimize your results via tmall
- Ads and Special Events.
Who are we and how to we help you in China?
Devising the right strategy for this market is therefore the key. We are a specialist agency with a wealth of experience in the development of medical and pharmaceutical companies. We worked with a lot of foreign businesses to help them develop their attraction alongside Chinese patients.
Baidu SEO – Chinese Search Engine Experts
Our focus is to promote your business with your target closely in mind. To sell, you need to be visible & reputable. In order to achieve this, we can use digital tools including; Baidu SEO and SEM, E-PR, Media Buying (DSP) & Community Management. Then, we’ll manage the campaign and assure its optimization & success.
We are Baidu experienced
High knowledge of Baidu
- A ROI-focused agency
- We are effective
- We have more than 300 cases studies
Leads Generation – Inbound Marketing Masters
We are professionals in lead generation. To be effective in your lead generation, you need to acquire good e-reputation, invest in online advertising and measure results and finally create quality content.
We have lead generation experience and we apply it to our agency. We get an average of 350 leads per month (March 2018) by applying the method we offer to companies that use our services.
Our Dedicated Team has a Deep Understanding of Chinese Citizens & Their Health Needs
Since 2012, we are dedicated to the improvement of many companies in China. We understand the expectations of Chinese patients. What kind of platforms do they use and why.
We also help you with:
- Website Creation, Development & Auditing
- Baidu Search Engine Optimization
- WeChat & Weibo Content Marketing
- Reputation Management & Community Development.
- Public Relations & Exposure in Chinese E-Media.
- Analytics, monthly reports & analysis from our team of experts.
We are a ROI Focused Agency
We are an ROI-focused agency. The solution is to attract and also re-target the most qualified traffic in order to increase conversion rates.
- We are a french and Chinese team, here to help you develop your business in China.
- We understand the Chinese consumers: their needs and habits
- We also understand the foreign brands’ difficulties when they tried to enter the Chinese market.
- Each member of the team is specialized in a field. They have experience and they are effective.
Come by the Office & Grab a Coffee
We are a friendly team, we offer the coffee if you book a meeting with our consultants to discuss your project in China.
We’ve already worked on a host of pharmacy and healthcare projects and know how to efficiently promote your business in China by engaging with the latest digital tools & cutting-edge strategies.
If you’re interested in being part of the Chinese market and want to reach your Chinese target, you need to adopt the most intelligent strategy.
Our dedicated team can offer a healthcare and pharmacy plan for China’s Online strategy that will be adapted to your products or services and target. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
OUR EXPERIENCE : OUR CASE STUDY
INFAT – ADVANCED LIPIDS
INFAT is a brand that sells fat components used in infant milk formula to mimic the composition, structure, and benefits of human milk fat.s. It has been manufactured and marketed by Advanced Lipid for over a decade. They called our agency because they wanted to expand their brand into the lucrative infant formula market in China.
THE INFAT’S CHALLENGE
Compared to other famous infant formula brands, INFAT had little awareness and reputation in the Chinese market. No parents will trust an unknown brand. The challenge was huge.
THE SOLUTIONS WE FOUND
- Creation of a Wechat Official Account
- Promotion through contents
- H5 to collect customer’s experience
- Interaction with customers (single/group chats)
- SEO on Baidu
- Website set up
- SEO Campaign to Increase Ranking
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
- Management of e-reputation
- Interaction on Forums / Q&A
- Social platforms
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
- 1500 new followers
- 100, 000 views of articles
- 34 pages have been indexed on Baidu
- 4, 530 backlinks have been indexed on Baidu
- Keywords rank 1st on Baidu
- 12 leads in the first 2 months after starting a campaign
- Around 40, 000 clicks
- 10, 000 views on forums content
- Promotion of articles on other websites achieved 15,000 views
We have helped improve their awareness and reputation significantly. They also built up their own customer community around Chinese mothers.
GET IN TOUCH
- Devising the right strategy for this market is therefore the key.
- We are a specialist agency with a wealth of experience in the pharmacy and healthcare market.
- For information please contact our experts for an in-depth discussion.