Cancer is on the rise in China.There were over 2 million new cases in 2007, according to the Ministry of Health, and many believe China’s health care system is unprepared to deal with this rising threat.
According to Lucian Yu, CEO of China Renji, a company that equips and manages cancer treatment clinics within urban hospitals, current equipment and staffing levels limit the number of radiotherapy patients to 400,000 each year.
“It’s a market that hasn’t been fully addressed historically so there’s a great need for these types of services,” Yu said.
Renji has doubled the number of centers it manages to 14 since 2007, and intends to add a further five locations this year either from scratch or by acquiring existing assets within hospitals. The company is also looking for a joint venture partner to establish a full-service cancer treatment hospital, hopefully within the next three to five years.
Renji’s net profit for 2008 soared by 320.9% to US$7 million.
Meanwhle, the Mackay Group, a private investment firm, sees opportunities in catching cancer early. The group has opened a cancer diagnosis clinic in Shanghai as part of its Worldwide Lifecare joint venture with Sino Energy Promotion. A further 20 clinics are planned. Talks are also underway with China’s National Labor Union and other parties over a second joint venture that will open 500 clinics in urban and rural areas by 2012. Beijing will provide part of the US$363 million investment.
The group’s founder, James Mackay, said that private sector involvement will be crucial to bringing advanced cancer detection technologies to China’s hinterland. “The US$123 billion in health care spending will never get out to the provinces. Private enterprise will have a huge role,” he said.