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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 18:22
Union Medical leaps 61% after announcing Tencent tie-up
By Evelyn Yu in Hong Kong
Thursday, May 17, 2018, 18:22 By Evelyn Yu in Hong Kong

This undated photo captures the flag of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (right) is hoisted next to China's flag (center) in Hong Kong. (PAUL YEUNG / BLOOMBERG)

Hong Kong listed healthcare service provider Union Medical Healthcare soared 61.73 percent to close at HK$6 on Thursday after announcing a tie-up with Chinese mainland internet giant Tencent’s digital-health subsidiary, Tencent Doctorwork.

Tencent Doctorwork has entered into a collaboration agreement with Union Medical Healthcare; they aim to open 20 Internet-backed clinics in the next two to three years in Hong Kong. 

Founded in 2016, Tencent Doctorwork is a digital health service enterprise jointly funded by Tencent, Medlinker and Sequoia Capital China. It provides both conventional medical care business at brick-and-mortar clinics and online medical care.

HK healthcare service provider teams up with Tencent Doctorwork, planning to open 20 clinics within 3 years

Currently Tencent Doctorwork has three clinics in Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen, and plans to increase the number to 300 clinics in the next three years.

The collaboration marks the debut of Tencent Doctorwork in Hong Kong. Doctorwork and Union Medical have decided to open two clinics this year, under the name Tencent Doctorwork, with more to come. 

Eddy Tang, chairman and chief executive of Union Medical Healthcare, said he was excited to work with Tencent as it can effectively modernize the healthcare system in Hong Kong, a sector that has “lagged behind” with many daily operations still involving a lot of paperwork. 

Tang did not disclose the amount of Tencent’s investment, saying he did not “rule out” the possibility that Tencent will invest as an equity investor in the future collaboration. 

Under the agreement, Tencent Doctorwork will supply to the Group its comprehensive medical management system, medical management cloud service system, health management IT system among other digital developments. 

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The clinics would enjoy the social media giant’s unparalleled internet traffic that could direct patients to the businesses. 

Tang disclosed that Union Medical would work with Tencent in Wechat, the mainland’s biggest social network, and use other ways to leverage Tencent’s massive internet traffic. It is a common practice for Tencent to embed mini programs that could direct users to the websites of its affiliated firms. 

As the country attached great importance to development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, Tang believed such intelligent clinics in Hong Kong could also seize great opportunities in “medical tourism”, attracting customers from nearby regions to its general practice clinics.

Tencent has been seen ramping up its presence in medical and healthcare sector. Hong Kong medical services company C-Mer Eye Care Holdings, which counted Tencent Holdings chairman Pony Ma Huateng as one of its cornerstone investors, saw its stock soar 76 percent on its trading debut.

Tencent-backed online healthcare-service provider Wedoctor Group also intends to list in Hong Kong within 18 months. 

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