Digital Health Care Market in China Is Ramping up Rapidly and All Players Across the Value Chain Must Adopt New Business Models

BCG Report Finds That Companies Along the Value Chain—Including New Digital Players, Pharmaceutical and Medtech Companies, Distributors and Retailers, and Payers—Must Adopt New Business Models Amid China’s Digital Healthcare Revolution.

BEIJING, September 16, 2015—Digital health care is taking off in China, with the spending for digital health care services and ecommerce projected to jump from just $3 billion in 2014 to $110 billion in 2020 according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled China’s Digital Health-Care Revolution, is being released today.

The report examines how digital health care is remaking health care in China and the impact that will have on patients, physicians and companies that provide products and services in the market. It also delves into the new business models that companies across the health care value chain must adopt in order to survive and thrive.

“The size and nature of the changes and opportunities for stakeholders will vary,” says Magen Xia, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “Some stakeholders will have the opportunity to digitize existing processes for improved efficiency. Others face the risk of being cut out of the market altogether. And for still others there is an opening to build entirely new digital businesses. But regardless of the specific opportunities or risks, all players have the chance to help shape the market as it undergoes massive change.”

Digital Health Care Presents Opportunities—and Risks

The digital health care revolution in China will fundamentally change the health care system. It will impact how patients are diagnosed, treated, and managed; how physicians and hospitals operate; how pharmaceuticals and medical-technology (medtech) devices are supplied and used; how payers structure their offerings.

“The growth of digital in China presents opportunities to address some of the key issues surrounding health care delivery in China,” says John Wong, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the report. “It should make the delivery of care more efficient while also giving people broader and easier access to high quality care.”

For players competing across the value chain this will require a new mindset and new business models:

  • Digital players newly entering the health care field need to offer end to end solution and design effective business models. They will need to strike partnerships with hospitals, physicians, and other parties to capture first-mover advantages in segments such as e-commerce, mobile payments, social media, and search-engine-based tools.
  • Pharmaceutical and medtech companies need to harness digital tools to improve their sales and marketing efficiency, provide disease management solutions, and deploy big-data analytics to inform portfolio decisions and boost R&D productivity. They will need to enter into partnerships with e-commerce providers as consumers increasingly purchase products online.
  • Drug distributors and retailers must move quickly to avoid being displaced. They must either build e-commerce capabilities of their own or partner with emerging e-commerce players.
  • Payers have the opportunity to develop new businesses including digital services, such as remote physician consultation, that will help attract new customers in the near term. They can also use big-data analytics to lower costs and improve patient outcomes over the long term.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Jeremy An at +8610 8527 9926 or

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