Date
20 June 2018
Tencent-backed online healthcare platform WeDoctor has partnered with AIA Group, which is now its preferred provider of life and health insurance solutions in China. Photo: WeDoctor
Tencent-backed online healthcare platform WeDoctor has partnered with AIA Group, which is now its preferred provider of life and health insurance solutions in China. Photo: WeDoctor

Tencent’s WeDoctor raises US$500 million, links up with AIA

WeDoctor, the Tencent-backed online healthcare platform, raised US$500 million from investors led by AIA Company Ltd., part of Hong Kong-listed insurer AIA Group (01299.HK), and Hong Kong conglomerate NWS Holdings (00659.HK).

The latest financing brings WeDoctor’s valuation to US$5.5 billion.

As part of a strategic partnership, AIA will become WeDoctor’s preferred provider of life and health insurance solutions in China and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, WeDoctor said in an announcement.

Also participating in the funding round are existing shareholders, including China Capital Zhongcai Fund Management, and new investors such as the state-backed industry investment fund CICFH.

“The strength of AIA’s market position in life and health insurance, together with WeDoctor’s leading technology platform and quality healthcare provider network, supports AIA’s commitment to play an active and valued role in our customers’ health and wellness journeys,” John Cai, regional chief executive of AIA Group, said in the announcement.

The online healthcare platform is also set to work with NWS in building hospitals across Hong Kong and mainland China, Bloomberg reported in April, citing unnamed sources.

Established in 2010, WeDoctor provides online and offline healthcare services as well as the integration of general practitioner and specialist doctors.

Its service offerings range from helping patients make bookings at Chinese public hospitals and online consultations to offline clinics and smart-boxes for remote access to licensed doctors.

The startup operates Guahao.com, China’s leading appointment registration platform for medical services.

With four main units focused on healthcare, cloud, insurance, and pharmaceuticals, the Hangzhou-based company now connects more than 2,700 hospitals, 220,000 general practitioners and specialists, and 15,000 pharmacies across the country. It had 27 million monthly active users as of the end of last year, the company said.

“China is pursuing unprecedented medical health reform, and WeDoctor will continue to plow this booming market with huge potential,” said Jerry Liao, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

WeDoctor said it is “making notable progress in applying cloud-based technology and artificial intelligence in the provision of healthcare services”.

According to CrunchBase data, WeDoctor platform raised US$106.5 million in a funding round led by Tencent Holdings in 2014. The Chinese internet giant participated again in another funding round in 2015, along with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, Hillhouse Capital and Goldman Sachs.

In an interview with Bloomberg in April, WeDoctor chief strategy officer Jeff Chen said it plans to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong “within 1 to 1.5 years”, with an aim to offer overseas access of medical resources to Chinese users.

WeDoctor, along with Ping An Insurance Group’s Good Doctor, have been expanding in China’s fast-growing online health sector.

Good Doctor raised US$1.1 billion in its mega IPO last week, becoming the first technology unicorn listing in Hong Kong this year. The IPO was 600 times oversubscribed. However, the shares tumbled on their first trading day.

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BN/CG

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