Hong Kong has a good chance of capturing a major share of Asia's medical tourism, which is expected to be worth HK$34 billion by 2012, the Trade Development Council said yesterday.
"Hong Kong's medical services excel in Asia and I believe Hong Kong can provide high-quality medical services," said the council's assistant executive director, Raymond Yip Chak-yan.
Hong Kong's big advantage, according to the council, lies in its medical professionals being fluent in Putonghua and English and able to communicate with mainlanders and foreigners.
About 1.6 million foreign patients sought medical treatment in Asia last year, the council said. It predicted the annual income generated from medical tourism in Asia could reach US$4.4 billion (HK$34.32 billion) by 2012.
In 2003 Hong Kong's main rival, Singapore, set up Singapore Medicine to boost medical tourism, which generated around US$900 million in 2006.
Thailand and Korea are also working hard to promote medical tourism. Both countries are renowned for quality plastic surgery.