Top 5 destinations for China’s medical tourists

More and more wealthy Chinese opting to go abroad for better treatment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 9:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:51pm

Fed up with mainland China’s crowded and noisy hospitals, more and more wealthy Chinese are opting to go abroad in search of better medical services. The top factors influencing their choice of destination are cost, distance from China and the availability of specialist treatment. Here, SCMP reporters sift through these criteria and identify the top five destinations for China’s medical tourists.


The United States of America

The world’s most powerful nation has the best medical resources in the globe, with hospitals and clinics top-ranked for almost all diseases. That’s why more Chinese patients visit American hospitals than those in any other country, despite having to fly at least 10 hours to get there and facing some of the highest medical costs in the world when they do arrive. Mainland agencies say they usually recommend American hospitals to patients according to the rank filed by the magazine US News & World Report.



There has been a dramatic increase in mainlanders flying to Japan to seek medical treatment over the past few years. The country is only 2-3 hours’ flight from China, and its medical technology and services are top class while also costing far less than in either the US or Europe. Japan and Germany have been using cutting-edge heavy ion radiotherapy on cancer patients for years and are the only two countries to be doing so. The number of heart disease patients going to Japan surged after writer Wang Shi shared his experience of being treated at Sakakibara Heart Institute on his blog. The article went viral as the public mistook him for a real estate tycoon with the same name.



Chinese like the country’s reputation for precision and have a high regard for its medical services. In particular, the country is a leader in orthopedics, hematology, and oncology and it is known as the most experienced country in using stem cell treatments.



Retired Olympics hurdle champion Liu Xiang has visited London’s Wellington Hospital for treatment, prompting many Chinese seeking sports medicine to do the same. Britain is also popular among patients with cancer, heart and nerve disease.



The Lion City is regarded as one of the best Asian countries in terms of medical technology and services. Mainland patients also like it for its proximity and familiar cuisine.