Healthcare industry overview in China
The healthcare market in China continues to expand rapidly, driven by:
- Economic growth
- Aging population
- Healthcare awareness among population
The healthcare industry in China is now witnessing a rapid transformation facilitated by market needs and technological advances. The introduction of digital technology and innovation-based solutions like health check devices will improve the efficiency or quality of healthcare in China.
The Chinese aging population is leading the health check devices market
China’s population demographics have changed significantly over the past years:
- By 2030, China is expected to have nearly a quarter of its population over the age of 60
- China has nearly 300 million patients with chronic disease, accounting for 86.6 percent of deaths in China.
These two reasons led to a greater awareness by the population of the importance of monitoring and managing personal health to avoid and prevent bad health consequences.
Toward a preventive and participatory healthcare sector
The healthcare industry in China is moving towards a rapidly growing segment of preventive and participatory healthcare, which is guided by the population who becomes more attentive to health and willing to devote time, energy and money to their own health.
The preventive aspect emphasizes early screening to prevent the potential need for treatments.
The preventive treatment is characterized by:
- preventive medication,
- monitoring personal daily life with medical devices such as diagnosis meters and wearables,
- lifestyle changes such as regular physical exercise, appropriate diet, adequate sleep and so on.
New products are being developed to monitor and manage personal health in China
Increased demand for health check devices in China
Health check devices which means thermometer, blood pressure and watches are becoming very popular in China to manage and control personal health. The results of 618 Tmall Shopping festival are a clear example of this growing demand. During the shopping festival, health check devices sales increase by +196% compared to last year.
Wearables and health check devices aim to fill the gap in medical resources shortage by delivering healthcare information straight to the consumer.
A functional product is the home wellness kit for the elderly. This kit includes various devices such as:
- gene test box,
- pulse oximeter,
- blood pressure monitor,
- blood oxygen levels
These new devices are a great way to encourage patients to be more proactive in monitoring their health and avoiding or preventing major diseases.
Many businesses are investing in health check devices due to this growing demand. For example, Hinounou, a Shanghai-based startup, aims to develop an intelligent health device for the elderly to provide company, tailor-made insurance and ongoing health monitoring services.
Health management app for monitoring physical and mental well-being
Health care major players are creating healthcare ecosystems with innovative business models to better fit consumer needs. For example, they are introducing health management apps that allow consumers to participate in the process of healthcare by undertaking active health monitoring, ensuring nutrition and diet planning and physical and mental health wellbeing.
A gap in the health check devices sector: insufficient data
Given the insufficiently high quantity for intelligent wearable devices, the accumulation of disease-related data may not be sufficient. Therefore, the main application covered by AI in health management in China is the management of:
- chronic diseases (such as diabetes and hypertension)
- maternal management
- mental health management
- population health management.
What are the opportunities for foreign companies in the Chinese health check devices industry?
The stakes for foreign multinationals are high, however, foreign players will have to understand the unique context of China. Unlike western ones, Chinese companies are often characterized by their speed, agility and creativity when competing on the market.
Therefore foreign companies must put China at the center of their global strategy, instead of treating it as another simple market. As foreign companies adopt China-focused strategies, they will succeed in this large and competitive market.
What is the first step to put China at the center of your global strategy?
The positioning of a brand and its identity are concepts that must necessarily be modulated according to the different cultures to which they refer. This does not mean that a brand must lose its essence when facing a new country. Rather, it means that, for example, it would be risky to apply the same strategies used in China in the country of origin. There is, in fact, the possibility of not capturing the attention and interest of the public as it happens in the country of origin, resulting in an effort and a waste of unnecessary money.
Hence the need for localization!
Localization is the key to enter the Chinese market
Localization is used to adapt a product, page, or app to a specific market. A localization strategy addresses customer behavior, purchasing habits, and general cultural differences in each country in which it operates.
When a company enters the Chinese market, it becomes difficult to offer a customer experience that feels comfortable and familiar. Therefore, defining specific location approaches ensures that consumers will benefit the similar quality experience they would get from a local company.
Localization implies knowledge of the:
- cultural and social norms,
- digital channels where people go to find information.
In China, western most used digital channels are banned (Google, Facebook, others), then Chinese people tend to use only Chinese platforms, and they use them a lot, therefore a deep knowledge of what are these channels and how they work is essential to be visible and successful in the Chinese market.
Knowing this can be incredibly important in guiding your marketing strategy and informing you of what exactly not to include in your campaigns.
How can a brand develop a localized digital marketing strategy?
Managing SEO on Baidu, Chinese social media, forums, collaborate with KOLs and sell products on Chinese eCommerce platforms are all important steps for your localized digital marketing strategy.
SEO on Baidu to be visible to Chinese consumers
Baidu is the Chinese search engine, where people go to find information about brands and products. To be visible on Baidu you should focus on two important aspects:
Use of local language
It is entirely in Chinese and this makes it particularly suitable for content in the local language. They are, in fact, better indexed than those in a foreign language.
Baidu struggles to index web pages in languages other than Chinese. The main reason is very simple: most of its users reside in China and are interested in Mandarin Chinese content. For this reason, priority is given to the local language.
To make sure that you reach the Chinese user, it is therefore essential to communicate in his language, translate the website into Chinese in a professional manner, adapt its contents and optimize it according to Baidu’s SEO criteria.
The website should be hosted in China
Another aspect to consider are the performance of websites on Baidu. The “Chinese Great Firewall” generates significant slowdowns in the loading of sites located outside of China.
In order to improve the experience of its users, Baidu favors the content they upload quickly. In this regard, the best strategy in terms of performance is to locate the site directly in China. To do this, however, it is necessary to obtain a specific government authorization, called ICP.
Chinese Social media & Forums to promote health check devices products
There were around 700 million social media users in China in 2019 and it is expected to grow significantly. Despite Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter being blocked in the country, local social networking sites such as Tencent WeChat and Weibo have been attracting millions of users, making China the world’s biggest social media market.
Chinese people increasingly depend on these platforms as a place to share their opinions, ask for product advice and connect with others. These are also the best channels where companies can promote their products and to teach how to use them, as well as what are benefits using them.
For example, the following image explain:
- how people are using Zhihu, the Chinese Q&A platform to ask question about products (on the left),
- how the Dido brand is using Wechat, the most used social media in China, to explain benefits for using its products for the elderly.
The most used social platforms in the health check devices market are Zhihu, Wechat and Xiaohongshu.
Zhihu is the best Q&A platform to ask question about health check devices products
Zhihu is the Chinese question-and-answer site like Quora. On Zhihu, questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its users. In Classical Chinese, “Zhihu” means “Do you know.”
It is an amazing platform where people can ask questions about products advantages and disadvantages, brands reliability, prices, solution to problems and others.
Wechat is the best social network to promote products benefits
WeChat is the main Chinese social network that thanks to the mini-programs offers the possibility to buy products directly in the app. It is used by the Chinese to do daily stuffs like paying products, through Wechat pay, transferring money, chatting with friends and looking for products.
This platform is very useful for companies in the health check devices sector that wish to promote their products on the Chinese market.
Xiaohongshu is the best social commerce platform to get recommendations
Little Red Book, or Xiaohongshu in Chinese, is a perfect mix between a social network and cross-border ecommerce. In addition to create networks of contacts and publishing content, it is possible to directly purchase the products shown on the screen through the practical “link-to-buy”.
Thanks to video and live streaming this is an impressive platform where people can both get recommendations about product from KOLs and buy products directly in the app.
KOLs are the most trusted people for recommendations
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) play an important role for brands on social media. In fact, since users mainly search for recommendations of health check devices on these platforms, KOLs can help brands as they are more reliable than advertising for consumers.
Comments and recommendations on social media are essential for foreign brands that want to increase their presence in the Chinese market. Thanks to them, people can also learn how to use products.
Ecommerce platforms to sell health check devices products in China
The best platforms to sell health check devices are Tmall and JD.com e-commerce platforms. These are the most used platforms in China to sell health check devices.
A brand can also choose to use their cross-border e-commerce platforms (Tmall Global, JD Worldwide) to sell products without having a physical presence in China and without having to face the long and complex authorization procedure with local authorities.
Tmall: health check devices sales increased by 196% on this platform
Tmall is the biggest B2C (business-to-consumer) platform in China. Tmall was launched by Alibaba group in 2010 and since its creation is the number one online sales platform in the Asian giant. Tmall is a general marketplace and offers consumers all kinds of products from over 100,000 brands.
JD.com dominates the electronic products market in China
JD.com(京东Jīngdōng) is the second B2C online retailer in China after Alibaba’s Tmall. It is partly owned by Tencent, which has a 20% stake in the company.
JD.com is an ecommerce platform that boasts an incredibly wide range of products that includes categories such as cosmetics, fresh food, clothing, and much more. JD.com dominates above all the electronic products and fresh food market.
Do you want to know more about How to use Chinese channels to boost sales? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in Chinese digital market.