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First mental health-focused company goes public in China

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In China, mental health issues are poorly understood and often stigmatized by the public, though as the Economist reported (paywall) a year ago, attitudes toward mental illness are gradually improving and the country is making great efforts to tackle mental health conditions. The urgent need for treatment options, however, remains. Adam Minter writes in Bloomberg on the initial public offering (IPO) of the biggest chain of private hospitals focusing on mental health in China, which he says is a big step towards addressing that need.

  • The company, Wenzhou Kangning Hospital Co., announced this week that it seeks a $29.5 million IPO in mainland China. In 2015, it listed on the Hong Kong exchange stock exchange for $87.7 million.
  • Wenzhou Kangning operates eight hospitals with over 2,500 beds, finding booming business in mostly affluent white collar workers suffering from anxiety and depression.
  • Minter writes that this IPO could be followed by others more tailored for a mass audience, and that “even five years ago, few Chinese would have considered” investing in even a profitable business serving relatively lightly stigmatized, stressed-out office workers.
  • By 2019, the mainland China mental health services market is projected to be worth $10 billion.

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.