It is far more important than “internal competition” to make the “cake” of the online medical market bigger together
Text | Xin Ying, reporter from Caijing
Editor | Wang Xiao
At the end of 2020, Alibaba Health (00241.HK), which was listed for six years, made profits for the first time. JD Health (6618.HK) surpassed Alibaba Health in its market value on the day of listing. Internet healthcare, which has been heated by the epidemic, has continuously triggered a boom in the investment community.
On December 14, a reporter from Caijing learned that the Internet medical company Weimai had completed a C+ round of financing with an amount of US$100 million. This round of financing was led by Baidu Capital, with IDG Capital, Jingwei China and other co-investors, and a Thai joint venture The current financial advisor.
Internet diagnosis and treatment, family doctors, medical care visits, full-cycle closed-loop management around subdivided diseases, and other full-process convenient medical services, which are the most concerned competition places for online medical platforms. As a local one-stop medical and patient service platform, Weimai also entered the market based on this, characterized by city-based units and in-depth cooperation with local public hospitals.
Avoiding the high competition with Internet medical giants, cutting into the market from third- and fourth-tier cities is not only the choice of companies such as Weimai and Health Road at their start-ups, but also Internet companies such as Pinduoduo and Meituan who have entered the medical industry at a later date. Strategy in the field.
After the new crown epidemic, leading companies have also accelerated the pace of sinking the market. Not only is the penetration rate of micro-medicine and good doctors in third- and fourth-tier cities increased, but even Ali and JD.com will leverage this market at any time. An investor in the Internet medical industry told a reporter from Caijing.
The time left for startups is even more tight. “The next biggest challenge for Weimai is to accelerate its expansion and maintain its dominant position.” Wang Yu, executive director of Baidu Capital, analyzed the Caijing reporter.
Limited by the failure of medical insurance payment, the overall market for Internet medical services is still too small. In the eyes of many Internet medical practitioners, in the huge medical market, being able to make the online “cake” bigger together is far more important than “internal competition”.
Financing track is narrower
“Did you not find out? Starting in 2019, Internet medical financing has disappeared on a large scale, and only some of it has been concentrated in large-scale financing.” The above-mentioned investors pointed out that more and more money, Internet companies that can raise money The less there has been, the industry itself is not yet profitable, and the hematopoietic capacity is insufficient, so it can only rely on continuous financing.
Those who can get large sums of money must have strong positions in the industry. In 2020, there will be a new release of Alibaba Health by 10 billion Hong Kong dollars, and then JD Health will complete US$830 million in Series B financing before listing, and raise 26.4 billion Hong Kong dollars on the first day of listing.
In the subdivided vertical track, Dingdang Kuaiyao raised 1 billion yuan, Weimai raised 100 million US dollars, and Dr. Chun Yu also completed tens of millions of E round financing.
This is the fifth financing of Weimai Medical in the five years since its establishment. Affected by the new crown epidemic, investors have extended the inspection period for Weimai.
Wang Yu and his team finally decided to spend the money. “Weimai’s cooperation with public hospitals in third- and fourth-tier cities has brought offline to online, from inside to outside, increasing the stickiness of local users. The new crown epidemic makes offline The drastic reduction in doctor visits did have an impact on Weimai’s data,” said Wang Yu.
With the help of the epidemic, the number of online users of Internet medical services has increased sharply. Especially after Wuhan’s “closed city”, Ping An Good Doctor, WeDoctor, etc. have opened online consultation, medicine delivery and other relief platforms, and the medical insurance department has also provided timely support. Take the lead in opening up medical insurance payment in Wuhan.
As of September 14, WeDoctor’s assistance platform has provided a total of 2.21 million free services, and the total number of visits exceeded 150 million. On January 21, Weimai also took the lead in launching the new coronary pneumonia public welfare clinic platform. As of March, Weimai had more than 2 million online consultation patients nationwide, and the entire network reached more than 75 million users.
The traffic growth of giants such as Alibaba, JD.com, and Ping An Good Doctor is more obvious. During the epidemic, the number of new registered users of Ping An Good Doctor’s mobile app (App) increased by 10 times, and the average daily consultation volume of new users was 9 times the usual. As of February 10, Alibaba Health has accumulated more than 1.04 million online consultations. As of April 30, JD Health’s free online consultations have reached 11 million.
Following the traffic, public hospitals have a strong willingness to embrace the Internet. Since the first half of this year, Wang Hang, the founder of Good Doctor Online, has been receiving consultations from public hospitals on how to build an Internet hospital.
The directors of public hospitals have also changed from caring about “you” to “using”. “In the past, the Internet was just a face-saving project for public hospitals. Putting an app, official account, or small program on it will count as completing the task. The hospital after the epidemic My elders, start to really care about whether your platform can be used, whether it works well, and how many users does it have?” Weimai founder Qiu Jialin told Caijing reporter.
Companies that build Internet platforms for hospitals can be roughly divided into two categories. One is to charge public hospitals and build a complete Internet hospital system for them, which is a one-shot sale. The other type is willing to establish a port for the hospital for free, and at the same time access to its own platform for operation, and tap value through the conversion of patient traffic.
“The capital chain of one-hammer sale is shorter and the profit model is clear. In contrast, the capital chain of platform-based Internet medical services is longer, with greater uncertainty, and more room for imagination. This is why Ali Health is not profitable. At that time, it could have a market value of more than 200 billion yuan, and JD.com Health’s industry market value reached a new high as soon as it went public, and it invested in growth.” The above-mentioned investor analysis.
Once the online platform is connected to medical insurance payment across the country, no matter in which tier cities, the richest companies will come out first, such as JD.com, Ali and Ping An Good Doctor with the highest market value. For other companies, the user stickiness accumulated in the early stage is put to the test.
Although Weimai is a platform-based company, Wang Yu saw the advantage of Weimai’s offline hospitals as its business center in the later period of the epidemic, and realized rapid “recovery” in single-point hospitals, betting that its model can be quickly replicated and rolled out .
Can user stickiness form a barrier?
No money is easy to take, and after every round of financing, there will be pressure to increase.
“The rate of amplification must reach 2 to 3 times that of the past.” Qiu Jialin was not immune from this situation. In the past two years, Weimai has added 11 provinces, nearly 100 new cities, and more than 1,000 cooperative hospitals.
“The depth of cooperation determines the stickiness of users.” The founder of a medical financing consulting company analyzed to a reporter from Caijing. Especially in third- and fourth-tier cities, there are a large number of public hospitals facing revenue pressure, and a hospital may connect more than a dozen at the same time. An Internet company, but most of them are only registered, which is tantamount to no stickiness.
When discussing cooperation with more than 100 hospitals, Weimai went for in-depth cooperation. It must dig deep in specialized diseases, covering more than 30 specialized diseases such as gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, tumors, and chronic diseases. The differentiated service needs of patients form a competitive barrier based on the region and the landing hospital, which is a move to leverage strength.
Similarly, WeDoctor originally docked 18,000 pharmacies for users to purchase drugs online, but this was not enough to stick users. Therefore, WeDoctor further opened up the cooperation between pharmacies and community health centers to form a pharmacy + clinic model. Increase user stickiness.
Ping An Good Doctor has also applied AI technology to nearly 150 offline hospitals to increase user stickiness, forming a service model of “Internet + artificial intelligence + own medical team with a scale of 1,000 people”, which runs online and offline.
However, in the eyes of the above-mentioned investors, this kind of user stickiness is “risky.” The true stickiness of patients is still in public hospitals. Who can register, who can inquire, follow up, and who can have more Deep cooperation will do. So once the public hospital cooperative hospital changes, users will lose a lot.
In order to increase the “bundling” with doctors and to “stick” users, Internet medical services are mostly trying to use the business model of cooperating with hospitals or doctors to package the consultations provided by doctors with the extended services available on the Internet platform to achieve services Value-added and user conversion also further expand the influence of doctors. Good doctors use the huge online doctor group to travel to the Internet medical circle.
The purpose is the same, and the realization path is different. The selection of Weimai is based on the localized services of public hospitals. In cooperation with public hospitals, companies will inevitably be the weaker side, and the path chosen by Weimai is relatively difficult. Qiu Jialin is very lucky. He has hardly encountered any termination of cooperation caused by changes in hospital leadership.
In fact, compared to the innate good genes of giants such as Ping An Good Doctor who can purchase insurance users, JD Health’s own mall, and WeDoctor’s good government relations, start-ups have very few options for the development of Internet medical care today.
Qiu Jialin, who was born in the hospital information industry, is familiar with the way public hospitals cooperate. “So from the very beginning, he chose the direction of helping public hospitals and doctors to increase their income. Then the in-depth cooperation is beneficial to hospitals, doctors, and patients. continued”.
However, due to the need to optimize both offline and online services, Weimai’s labor costs are relatively higher. The offline team of a large hospital can be as many as 30 or 40 people. Although it has not achieved overall profitability, in a single hospital or a single city, Weimai can achieve profitability within half a year at the earliest.
“Whether the single-point profit data can be realized in the subsequent expansion is a test for Weimai.” An investor who has investigated Weimai said.
Reprint indicated source：Spark Global Limited information