Hong Kong-led investment group to spend 1 billion yuan on medical facilities in Guangdong
Consortium led by former finance chief Antony Leung plans to set up two hospitals and 20 clinics with eye on Beijing’s Greater Bay Area plan
An investment group led by former Hong Kong finance minister Antony Leung Kam-chung will pump at least 1 billion yuan (HK$1.13 billion) into a Shenzhen-based medical group as a pioneering move to participate in the Greater Bay Area plan, an integration scheme with cities in the Pearl River Delta.
New Frontier, a Hong Kong and Shanghai-based investment firm, in which Nan Fung Group is a substantial investor, will become the major shareholder in Best Unimed Medical Group. Leung is co-founder and chairman of New Frontier.
In an interview with the Post, Best Unimed chief executive officer Professor Xie Rushi said the huge funding from Hong Kong would fill the health care services gap faced by mainlanders as well as the 160,000 Hongkongers and 30,000 expatriates living in Shenzhen.
In the longer term, Xie said, those residing in other parts of Guangdong province would also benefit.
Xie said they were planning to attract Hong Kong doctors to serve at two new hospitals and about 20 clinics in Guangdong by offering them insurance cover aimed at protecting them from threatening tactics commonly used by mainland patients seeking compensation.
The health care facilities would be managed “Hong Kong style” and doctors would not have to sit extra examinations to practice in Shenzhen, he said.
“Economic development in the [bay] area is getting more active ... Medical demands are expected to increase with economic growth,” he added.
Premier Li Keqiang announced the Greater Bay Area plan in his annual work report. It is designed to coordinate economic and infrastructure development in 11 cities in the Pearl River Delta region, including Hong Kong and Shenzhen, to tap into markets in Southeast Asia and South Asia.
Best Unimed was established last year, with more than 300 doctors who charge a minimum consultation fee of 500 yuan.
“We hope that people in Shenzhen can enjoy medical services on a par with those in Hong Kong, but even more efficient than Hong Kong’s,” Xie said. “The population in the delta is wealthier now.”
The medical group has been in touch with the Hong Kong government on the possibility of using health care vouchers at its outlets. The voucher scheme was first launched in 2009 to allow the city’s elderly to purchase primary medical care services. Since 2015, eligible senior citizens have also been using the vouchers at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital in the border city.
However, Dr Choi Kin, president of the city’s largest doctors’ group, the Medical Association, said the mainland was not attractive enough to local doctors due to different expectations of patients. Unless the group could double the salaries offered in Hong Kong, locals would be unlikely to move out of the city for work, he added.
An official signing ceremony between the two parties will be held in Shenzhen next Tuesday. It will be attended by high-level officials such as health minister Dr Ko Wing-man.