Medical Tourism the New Growth Story for Australia

Australia’s public health system has historically enjoyed excellent reputation as one of the world’s finest. In recent years, this reputation has been more and more appreciated by the growing middle class in Asia. One sub-sector of the health system in particular, has quietly risen from obscurity – IVF.

Australian owners of IVF provider Genea has been working to lure Chinese would-be parents to Australia for high-quality reproductive medicine services.

As revealed by Street Talk on Friday, Asian investment firm Aldworth Management, Hong Kong-listed financial services and wealth company Mason Group and Chinese health unicorn WeDoctor (which is backed by tech giant Tencent), have teamed up to buy Genea. We understood that the business was sold for just over $300 million.

Genea is Australia’s third-largest reproductive services player. The consortium hopes to capitalise on its strong presence, to attract Chinese patients prepared to travel overseas for high-quality IVF services.

WeDoctor, which has 220,000 doctors and 160 million users, will play a huge role in that strategy. WeDoctor chief of strategy Jeff Chen said the platform builds communities around doctors, who can promote their work and practise telemedicine on the site. Mr Chen said initial IVF consultations could be done on the platform, and later when the woman travels, they would also provide services to help though the process. Cracking the $2.8 billion fast-growing IVF market of China would be a huge step for Genea, which began in Australia 30 years ago.

This high-profile transaction serves to show the growing demand for high-quality Australian medical services from Asia. It wouldn’t be long before Australia follows the steps of medical tourism pioneer Singapore and become a preferred destination for medical tourists. The opportunities are immense.