WeDoctor plans to file for long-rumored Hong Kong IPO

Business & Technology

After a COVID-fueled online healthcare boom in 2020, JD Health and Ping An Good Doctor both raked in the cash on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Tencent-backed WeDoctor will reportedly follow them in listing its healthcare businesses as soon as next month.

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WeDoctor, a telemedicine unicorn company that offers online appointment booking and diagnosis, is planning to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as next month, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The Tencent-backed online healthcare provider has reached $6.8 billion in valuation after raising $400 million in a pre-IPO round with investors such as Sequoia Capital China and Millennium Management at the end of last year.

  • WeDoctor will seek a Hong Kong IPO for its healthcare businesses, including online and face-to-face services. The company will separate its sensitive data operation that handles personal medical records and keep it private.
  • WeDoctor’s IPO plan has persisted since 2018, when it raised $500 million in a financing round and was valued at $5.5 billion. Rumors of the company’s immediate IPO emerged again in 2019 and two more times in 2020, but WeDoctor has yet to officially file the prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • WeDoctor reportedly has chosen Citigroup, JPMorgan, and CMB International to underwrite its IPO listing.

Due to the online healthcare boom during COVID-19, WeDoctor’s 2020 revenue more than tripled compared with the previous year, people familiar with the matter told National Business Daily (in Chinese).

  • Founded in 2010 by artificial intelligence expert Jerry Liao, or Liào Jíeyuǎn 廖杰远, WeDoctor was originally named, and was an advertising-funded platform that provided appointment-booking assistance.
  • The company founded China’s first online hospital, Wuzhen Internet Hospital, in 2015, which provides diagnosis and prescription services virtually. WeDoctor now operates 12 on-the-ground healthcare facilities and 27 internet hospitals, some of which are co-founded with local governments like those of Tianjin and Ningxia. WeDoctor has over 210 million users as of June 2020, according to its website.
  • Soon after the COVID-19 breakout at the beginning of 2020, WeDoctor launched (in Chinese) an online healthcare platform that provides diagnosis and consulting services, which gained support from the central government and was later promoted (in Chinese) to ethnic Chinese living abroad through overseas embassies and consulates.
  • It is unclear whether WeDoctor has turned a profit. The company lost 4 billion yuan ($620 million) in 2019, according to financial records obtained by Caixin.

WeDoctor’s IPO comes late, as other leading Chinese online healthcare platforms already made their debuts in Hong Kong or jumped in value during the pandemic-hit 2020.

  • Ecommerce giant’s healthcare unit, JD Health, made a successful debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last December, and is now worth about $60 billion.
  • Ping An Good Doctor, which in 2018 became the first Chinese telemedicine company to go public in Hong Kong, saw its shares more than double last year, and reported (in Chinese) a 35.5% increase in revenue. The company is now worth over $17 billion, and is a cornerstone investor in WeDoctor.