Chinese tech giant Tencent is moving another step further in line with its forays into medtech sector by leading a $40 million USD Series B in online healthcare service Medlinker. FY Capital also participated in the round.
Medlinker is a China-focussed mobile platform that allows physicians to social network and communicate with each other. Doctors on the platform can find contacts of each other and discuss treatment measures for specific cases. In its latest update, the app added a WeChat-like group-chat feature to facilitate communication among users. While the concept of private tech companies facilitating basic medical services may seem foreign in other countries, China’s health system is often critically underfunded and disjointed.
Medlink users have to register with their real name to ensure the professionality of the platform. Personal information like contacts, hospitals they are working in and job titles are required in the registration process.
Founded in 2014, Medlink’s development is quite impressive for a startup that was established less than one year ago. The company has 200 staff with a core team from both tech and medical backgrounds. The platform now claims to have 100,000 registered users.
The new funding will go primarily into consolidating its online business, aiming to increase the users base from 400,000 to 500,000, according to the company founder and CEO Wang Shirui. He added that the firm is also integrating office productivity features in an attempt to expand beyond the social networking sector.
The company’s existing inventors include Sequoia Capital China, Ce Yuan Ventures and PreAngel. The Chengdu-based startup is moving its operation and core team to Beijing in pursuit of talent, said Wang, but he added the R&D team would remain at Chengdu.
Tencent has made big moves in the online healthcare sector with two hefty investments in health service community DXY and Guahao last year.
Tencent’s arch-rival Alibaba Group has made early inroads into this sector with a series of moves including the acquisition of CITIC 21CN to control drug-data, launching the drug authenticity plan, the future hospital plan, and supporting Alipay Wallet mobile payment in pharmacies. Baidu also lay out in the field with healthcare program “Beijing Health Cloud” and mobile app Baidu Doctor.
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