Online retail giant JD Health is sprinting towards China’s trillion-dollar healthcare market. The company announced today the rollout of a heart treatment platform that combines online and offline services.

Why it matters: JD and other industry giants want to include healthcare in their sprawl. They’re not satisfied with just selling medicine—they want to be your hospital.

Details: The centerpiece of JD Health’s launch is a famous cardiologist, Hu Dayi.

  • It’s not just about having one star doctor. Hu comes with those who trained with him as well as his medical and academic alliances, which amount to a few thousand medical professionals.
  • JD Health will set up heart treatment centers, with the first in Tianjin Nankai Hospital.
  • It will push its platform to those that search for plus-size clothing and other risk indicators.

“Platforms rely on over-the-counter drugs and health products. They haven’t even tapped core areas (our translation).

—a former senior manager at AliHealth

Context: JD Health is a late joiner to the health care race, closing its A-round of funding with over $1 billion in May.

  • When asked who would win health care, a JD Health employee told TechNode: “It’s not a question of who wins, the market is just too big.”
  • JD has eight warehouses that meet standards for storing drugs and plans to open more.
  • AliHealth has been expansionary, buying up two of China’s largest physical examination companies, Meinian and iKang this year.
  • Tencent merged its medical unit with e-medical startup Trusted Doctors last year. It promises users 500 offline medical institutions by 2021.
  • Regulators have yet to make two decisions that could hit platforms hard—how to rule on online prescription drug sales and whether social insurance will cover them.
  • Online hospitals emerged from a gray area when Premier Li Keqiang mentioned them at 2018 Two Sessions, China’s largest meeting of policymakers. E-medical industry insiders say this conveyed on them much needed legitimacy and was more helpful than any subsidy.

Lavender Au

Lavender covers regulation and its effects on people. She previously worked in a policy advisory analyzing China’s internal governance for foreign governments and multinationals. A History graduate from...

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