Tencent-backed online doctor start-up seeks Hong Kong IPO

WeDoctor is one of several online health care providers that have emerged in recent years to tackle problem of China’s overstretched hospitals

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 11:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 11:10pm

WeDoctor Group, the Chinese online health care services firm backed by Tencent Holdings, plans to seek a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange next year as investors bid up technology stocks.

The Hangzhou-based company is currently raising US$500 million from investors and expects to close the fundraising round before Chinese New Year, which falls in mid-February this year, Zhang Songqi, a marketing manager at the company, said in an interview in Wuzhen on Sunday.

WeDoctor is targeting a valuation of US$5 billion to US$6 billion, according to Zhang. That would make it one of the most valuable online health care start-ups in China, together with Ping An Good Doctor, which is backed by Hong Kong-listed Ping An Insurance.

Founded in 2010, WeDoctor is one of several online health care providers that have sprouted in recent years to tackle the problem of China’s overstretched and underfunded hospitals, where waiting times are long and patients reportedly have to pay large amounts of money to middlemen to get appointments with renowned specialists.

Ping An’s Good Doctor app to seek Hong Kong listing next year, targeting US$1 billion share sale

WeDoctor operates an app that allows its 150 million registered users to make appointments with a network of 260,000 doctors spread across China.

Sequoia Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, Hillhouse Capital and Goldman Sachs are among the investors backing the start-up, which completed its previous funding round in 2015.

WeDoctor is also the latest company backed by Shenzhen-based Tencent to seek a public listing.

Tencent, the world’s largest video games company by revenue and operator of China’s biggest social network, spun off its 44 per cent-owned online search service, Sogou, in an initial public offering (IPO) in New York last month that raised US$585 million.

Tencent unit China Literature, the country’s largest online publishing and e-book website operator, became the most profitable IPO in Hong Kong in a decade after its value skyrocketed nearly 90 per cent to give it a market capitalisation of HK$93 billion after its trading debut early last month.

Another successful IPO would extend the run of technology start-ups in the city’s red-hot market.

In November, WeDoctor hired Jeff Chen, a former head of technology investment banking for Asia Pacific at HSBC, as its chief strategy officer.

To ensure that less tech-savvy users can also access its services, WeDoctor began selling a smartphone with pre-loaded software that allow users to contact and consult with doctors. The mobile phone, co-developed with Halove (Hangzhou) Technology, is priced at about 2,000 yuan (US$303).

Additional reporting by Amanda Lee