WeDoctor has raised $500mn from investors
Online healthcare provider WeDoctor Holdings has recently finalised its $500mn private share sale, becoming one of the largest pre-IPO financings to date within China. Growing staff shortages and a rising ageing population has led digital health to grow exponentially, where consumers want to gain the ability to speak with a medical professional, anytime, anywhere.
Backed by Tencent Holdings, the company has tapped into this the demand for increased availability, where WeDoctor operates alongside Ping An Healthcare’s Good Doctor. The platform enables patients to obtain healthcare diagnosis’, alongside the ability to speak with a medical professional at a time convenient for them.
Additionally, patients can book appointments through China’s largest registration platform, Guahao.com. Its digital platforms link with 2,700 hospitals, 220,000 doctors, 15,000 pharmacies, with 27mn monthly active users in the country.
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In its latest funding round, AIA Group and NWS Holdings have become the main frontrunners, where WeDoctor will now become AIA’s chosen provider for health and life insurance across its 18 markets in Asia-Pacific.
“The strength of AIA’s market position in life and health insurance, together with WeDoctor’s leading technology platform and quality healthcare provider network, supports AIA’s commitment to play an active and valued role in our customers’ health and wellness journeys,” commented John Cai, Regional Chief Executive of AIA Group.
Jerry Liao, Chairman and CEO of WeDoctor, said: “As China’s unprecedented healthcare industry reform continues, WeDoctor will continue to tap into opportunities in this flourishing and enormous market. We have jointly established with our business partners a unique business model that encompasses the integration of ‘online and offline’ and ‘GP + specialist’ operations.
“As our business grows, we are also making notable progress in applying cloud-based technology and artificial intelligence in the provision of healthcare services. The addition of AIA and NWS Holdings as our new strategic investors will empower us to accelerate expansion and generate synergistic win-win benefits.
Ping An Healthcare has recently raised over $1bn for its IPO, becoming one of the first health-tech Unicorn’s in China. With the latest financing, WeDoctor’s valuation is set to rise to $5.5bn, taking the company to new heights.
Walmart, the next health tech giant - a timeline
Retail giant Walmart has been building its healthcare division for a number of years, but its recent acquisition of a telehealth firm and the slow down of its clinic expansion suggest its focus has now shifted to health tech. We look at key moments in Walmart's history in healthcare.
Walmart announces plans to provide "full primary care services" by 2020. The plans include opening clinics in underserved, urban areas, where the chain has many existing stores.
A series of “Healthcare Begins Here” events launch at Walmart stores, where consumers are given information on leading healthy lives, as well as free blood pressure, blood glucose and vision screenings, and access to vaccinations.
As part of the organisation's commitment to pursue a more data-centric approach to worker safety, Walmart partners with StrongArm, manufacturers of safety wearables. Staff begin wearing FUSE, a small sensor worn between their shoulder blades that detects injury risk. Within a year, ergonomic injuries decreased by 65%.
Walmart opens its first health centre in Dallas. The 10,000 square-foot "super centre" offers primary care, X-rays and ECG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health services. Prices are affordable regardless of health insurance status.
The same year a partnership with Doctor on Demand is announced, a telehealth company offering mental health services. As part of the agreement Walmart employees are able to access these services for free.
The first health and wellness clinic opens in Springdale, Arkansas, providing primary care, dental care, vision and hearing services as well as behavioural health, fitness and wellness education classes.
Walmart acquires CareZone’s medication management technology. CareZone's app reminds users to take their medication and provides refill reminders. The acquisition complements Walmart's existing pharmacy service.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in talks with Verizon to implement 5G wireless service in select sites, to help boost digital health services.
As part of its COVID-19 response, drive-thru testing is offered at hundreds of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy sites, free of charge through Humana .
The retail giant teams up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer telehealth services to veterans at stores in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.
Walmart Mexico signs a deal with Jack Nathan Medical Corp, a Canadian tech-focused healthcare provider. This will see 153 new medical clinics open within stores across Mexico, taking the total in the country to 203.
Walmart announces it is acquiring MeMD, a multi-speciality telehealth provider. The acquisition will enable Walmart Health to provide access to virtual care across the US. At the same time it is reported that plans to open further clinics are deliberately slowing down.
"Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions" Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for Health & Wellness said of the announcement.