Venture capital

Why Tencent wants a share in medical service platform

Tencent invested the third time into a medical service platform - a hot sector for investors right now.

Tencent led an Rmb1 billion ($142 million) follow-up Series D on Tuesday in tumour medical service platform Medbanks, bringing people’s attention to the growing market of medical service in China.

Wu Capital and existing investors Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, China Electronics Corporation, CICC, IDG Capital all participated in the round.

This is Tencent’s third investment in Medbanks. The Chinese internet giant led the Series B totalling more than $10 million in early 2016 and doubled down on its investment early this year. This is a logical investment, as cancer treatments have become a chronical disease and a service platform can offer a much longer solution for the patients.

Medbanks connects hospitals, doctors and drugs with patients that in need. A major part of its business is providing medical insurance for patients, allowing them to pay for the expensive cancer drug in the long term.

Investors are eyeing for a comprehensive medical service platform as Beijing shortened the drug approval process since the beginning of this year. “With more open-up policy, Chines patients are getting wider access to effective cancer drugs,” one founder of another medical service platform told FinanceAsia in an interview last month.

“If the platform becomes big enough and every patient is using the platform to pay for medical service and drug, the platform will even have the bargaining power to further lower the drug or service price.”

As a comprehensive platform like Medbanks, it has the potential to develop more financial product to support patients’ need and gather enough data for drug and medical service in China. Such a platform is definitely attractive for an internet conglomerate like Tencent.

Tencent has been trying to include the healthcare business into its ecosystem. It embedded a button in WeChat for users to buy medical insurance directly and has developed Miying for medical image recognition and licensed insurance seller WeSure.

The medical service market is less competitive in China right now as Chinese medical service is still at an early stage, the unnamed founder of another medical service platform said. But companies are speeding up. Medical service platforms want to grow big and gather clients and transaction volume to tap into the ageing population in China.


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