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Medical tourism demand from China

by John Derrick ,  I M T J | 2011-11-18

Although China is promoted as a medical tourism destination, with the difficulty of getting visas and lack of destinations, the numbers going there are small so far. But the real interest is the quiet but hidden growth that now makes China one of the main suppliers of outbound medical tourists.

The number of Chinese going abroad for medical treatment has increased significantly in recent years due to rising affluence and mobility of the country’s emerging middle class population. Chinese health consumers are not motivated by price but by the poor availability of services. Outbound Chinese have high-middle to upper class income levels and are going abroad to receive a quality of service, care and discretion not widely available in their home country. China’s rapid development into the world’s second largest economy over the past few decades has generated millions of people wealthy enough to demand the highest quality of care available worldwide and pursue elective medical procedures

China’s healthcare system has and will be improved but it starts from a low base of public care rather than a mix of private and public care as in other countries. Treatment costs are very low, the range in services is narrow and service quality varies by and within region from excellent to very basic.

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