Ping An Capital, the investment arm of China’s giant Ping An Insurance Group, has made a “significant” investment of more than ¥800m (US$121m, £90m) in Fullerton Healthcare Corp, a Singapore-based, pan-Asian healthcare provider, Fullerton announced on Tuesday.
The investment makes Ping An and its related parties Fullerton’s second-largest shareholder. Fullerton had been planning an initial public offering last year, but decided against it, citing market uncertainty, published reports have said.
In a statement on its website, Fullerton noted that Ping An’s investment came as China has been in the process of reforming its healthcare system, and that this would help to pave the way for Fullerton to expand its operations across the Mainland.
Explained Fullerton co-founder and group chief executive Michael Tan, MD: “With the deepening of China’s healthcare reform, there is no better time for Fullerton Health to expand into the Chinese market”.
Fullerton said its first move as a result of the investment would be to establish approximately 100 clinics in such major Mainland cities as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Currently Fullerton Health has more than 190 medical centres across five countries, a global healthcare facilities network of more than 8,000 healthcare facilities, and looks after more than 25,000 companies, according to the company’s website.
In addition to Singapore, it now has operations in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Australia.
Explaining its interest in the Chinese healthcare market, Fullerton points to a 2016 Frost & Sullivan research report on China’s market which predicted that its “enterprise healthcare management” industry will grow from a US$5.7bn industry in 2010 to one that’s worth US$21.1bn by 2020.
As reported here earlier this month, in a bid to boost investment in Chinese industries, China has announced that it is to allow foreign companies to hold majority stakes in joint ventures for the first time, while removing entirely its existing caps on shareholdings for banks, asset managers and, within five years, insurance sector firms.
Founded in 2011
Fullerton was founded in 2011 by Dr Tan and another doctor, Daniel Chan, who joinedforces to invest in two existing Singaporean chains of medical clinics, founded in the 1950s, that at the time had just 10 units and 70 staff. However, these clinics’ client base consisted of multi-national organisations, educational institutions and governmental organisations, according to a corporate history on the Fullerton Health website, and this provided a ready market on which the healthcare entrepreneurs were able to quickly build.
Pin An Insurance became the world’s largest health insurer by market value earlier this year. As of May, its “Ping An Good Doctor” online platform was reported to be providing health management services to some 160 million Chinese users.