JD Health fires latest salvo in health care battle

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A JD Health doctor sends a TechNode reporter to a brick-and-mortar hospital (Image credit: TechNode/Coco Gao)

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.