The New York Times reports (paywall) that “Chinese people took an estimated 500,000 outbound medical trips last year, a fivefold increase from a year earlier, according to Ctrip.com,” a travel booking service. There is a growing industry to cater to well-heeled Chinese patients who can’t find the treatment they are looking for at home because of overcrowded hospitals or lack of specialist expertise. Hope Noah Health Company told the Times that it sent more than 1,000 patients to the U.S. and Japan last year on medical treatment packages that included Chinese-speaking concierges/translators, and pre-arranged apartment rentals for patients who do not need to be in a hospital ward.
However, the industry faces problems, including that patients with conditions requiring ongoing treatment may not find suitable care when they return to China. One person interviewed in the Times article started a medical travel business, but is now looking to change his service “into one that [helps] clients look for drugs in Hong Kong and Macau as well as doctors who could treat the problem domestically.”
Domestic medical tourism is already attracting investment: Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported on a $3 billion “medical tourism hot spot” planned for the island province of Hainan.
Feeding China / Bloomberg
A series of ten articles on the business, politics, and technology of feeding 1.4 billion people as their growing appetites force “companies to scour the planet for everything from bacon to bananas.”
Opinion: Don’t worry, Hollywood. China’s not a threat / LA Times
SupChina editor-at-large John Pomfret writes: “before we unspool into a tizzy of anti-Chinese paranoia, it’s important to remember two things: China’s film industry remains abysmal artistically, and it has begun to flail financially.”
Is China outsmarting America in AI? / NYT (paywall)
“The balance of power in technology is shifting. China, which for years watched enviously as the West invented the software and the chips powering today’s digital age, has become a major player in artificial intelligence, what some think may be the most important technology of the future. Experts widely believe China is only a step behind the United States.”
Is China’s economy turning Japanese? / Financial Times (paywall)
“Three decades after Tokyo’s property bubble burst causing severe damage, there are fears that Beijing faces a similar fate.”
- While the rest of the world tries to ‘kill email,’ in China, it’s always been dead / Quartz
- Early China data shows slowdown biting amid credit tightening / Bloomberg
- Property buyers hit a brick wall as Beijing tries to avert housing bubble / SCMP