Nowadays IVF services are booming in China. According to some industry estimates sites by NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW, Chinese couples spend around $8 billion each year on IVF. Of that, in accordance with figures cited in China’s state-linked media, over $1 billion is spent outside of China.
In addition to this, the future of IVF industry seems to be promising. The well-known website Bloomberg stated that the reproductive health market in China has a potential value of 15$ billion!
Why is the demand for In Vitro Fertilization growing?
China has finally abolished its one-child policy. However, the paradox has appeared among Chinese women, who are struggling to get pregnant these days.
Why does it happen? These fertility problems are caused by different factors: higher stress levels accompanying economic development; the high level of pollution in the country; late marriage; late childbirth; smoking and alcohol use.
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In Vitro Fertilization industry in China: a great opportunity for foreign companies
Only 460 mainland hospitals were licensed for IVF in April 2019.
Moreover, couples need to spend approximately 20,000 -30,000 RMB per IVF cycle, while for ICSI it is 25,000 to 35,000 RMB per cycle. And, since fertility service treatment is not covered by public or private insurance, assisted reproductive technology remains out of reach for many infertile couples in China.
Therefore, tapping into this increasing demand of IVF services in China has become a significant opportunity for foreign companies to leverage this market.
Why are the Chinese looking for In Vitro Fertilization services abroad?
“Excess of demand for IVF treatment, limited clinics available and months in waiting for consultation appointments” are among the main factors driving Chinese women to seek programs abroad. Chinese people prefer going abroad to look for high quality IVF treatments and because it is usually cheaper to do the treatments abroad.
Moreover, many Chinese couples can choose the gender of the future baby abroad, which is one of the crucial points.
The IVF market is highly competitive in China
Currently, the highest quality providers of IVF services come from abroad but the fast-growing demand from Chinese singles and couples is the key to foreign hospitals and clinics’ success on the Mainland. Foreign Clinics providing IVF services in China are at a competitive advantage in both high-quality healthcare services and diversity of supplied procedures.
IVF tourism in China: Women traveling abroad for a baby
Demand for IVF in China has surged since the one-child policy was scrapped, but unmarried women are denied access. SBS News follows one hopeful mother on her international journey to start a family. source
How can your IVF clinic attract Chinese customers?
The crucial point is to get the attention of potential clients. In China, your company means nothing if you don’t have instruments such as E-Reputation, a quality Chinese website, and a strong online presence in Chinese social media. Chinese are tending to do lots of research before they choose any services especially when it comes to Healthcare.
Read below to know how to succeed in the IVF market.
IVF Clinics need to work on e-reputation
You need to start building your e-Reputation in China, simply due to the reason that English content, positive reviews in western media platforms are not be visible on the Chinese net.
Mandarin Chinese Characters are use in the vast majority of internet research (over 97,5%). Also, Chinese web is a unique ecosystem that requires a fresh and creative approach.
You should forget big western players such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, cause instead of it all China has WeChat, Baidu, Weibo and many others. To approach this whole set of new platforms, Chinese specific way in terms of Mandarin communications, content and engagement should be taken into consideration.
Choosing the right strategy to Promote an IVF Clinic in China
To build your E-reputation in China, you should be strategic with your content. Introduce your services has high-quality services, as the reference of the market. Remember that you are promoting a costly service abroad, thus, it must be worth the price. Medical tourism is doing great with Chinese citizens, but only the clinics that can prove they are the best to make money.
Earn the trust of Chinese Women Looking for IVF
If foreign clinics have a better reputation than most Chinese, this won’t be enough to appeals to medical tourists. Localize your content but keep your identity to have a unique selling point.
Forget about “passive” business model
Chinese healthcare market is mostly lead by Foreign healthcare companies especially in terms of IVF services. Most of them were using a “passive” business model that consists in creating partnership with tour agents.
In other words, foreign healthcare companies are taking the lead in providing IVF services in China by adopting a “passive” business model, which is driven by partnerships with tour agents and referral offices.
However, nowadays the rules have been changed since IVF treatment services market is a “tidbit” for Foreign clinics. Therefore, you will need to act smart and fast to enter Chinese market without wasting your time.
Use Baidu to promote your IVF Clinic in China
One of the effective strategies to reach the Chinese market is advertising through search engines. Among these search engines, we have Baidu, which is by far the most powerful leader in the Chinese search engine market, with nearly 80% market share.
There are several other search engines equally powerful, but none is comparable to Baidu in terms of market shares.
Just like Google, Baidu offers a wide variety of advertising options for businesses. However, advertising on it requires that companies drown in a ton of administrative paperwork, which is incredibly difficult for non-Chinese companies. Baidu needs a large amount of information to stay in line with Chinese government regulations.
Baidu SEO is crucial for a foreign clinic in China
SEO on Baidu is the key for the visibility of your business, since it is the most used search engine in China and it ranks 5th among the most visited sites in the world. But not only! Baidu is Key to build a strong reputation. The more results there are about your clinic on Baidu, the more trustable you are.
Baidu has more than 800 million web pages and offers a wide range of services, such as web searches, image and music searches, forums and Q&A service. SEO on Baidu requires several steps, which are different from what needs to be done on Google.
Baidu SEO a long term solution for foreign IVF Clinic
The notions of trust and notoriety remain essential for companies wishing to enter the Chinese market and be visible on Baidu. Key SEO strategies include keyword optimization, backlinks, and content sharing, this is the way to generate quality traffic.
Compared with SEA, SEO takes more time, but it is a long-term solution in terms of developing a better e-reputation and is more stable. The quality search results won’t disappear after you stop the campaign, on the contrary, you will remain higher in the rankings and continue to drive traffic.
Optimize your IVF Clinic presence on chinese social media
In China, there are around 1 billion internet users and 91% of Chinese online users have a social media account, in comparison with US where around 67% of online population have one.
The standard Chinese internet user follows an average of eight brands and over 38% of Chinese netizens make purchasing choices based on social media recommendations. As reported by Ogilvy, over 55% of Chinese users had participated in online discussions about brands and that discussions are able to directly affect businesses.
- Wechat Brochure
- Services Account
- Group Marketing
- Mini program
There is much you can do on Wechat. The app, just like Baidu is crucial in earning the trust of potential Chinese customers. If Wechat is not a great app to build a following, it is a great place to nurture your existing following, a little bit like an email list would be in the west.
RED aka Little Red Book: An unsuspectedly great app to promote IVF Clinic
Why is this a great app for IVF clinics you’ll ask me? Well, very simple, the app user base is mainly composed of women (millennials) from wealthy Chinese cities. The app is a to-go for reviews and testimonials in the high-end beauty and health sector. Motherhood is a non-negligeable segment of RED.
RED is good to gain a following and to engage with it. It is an excellent place to work with KOLs and to build your E-reputation through “shopping notes”.
Chinese Forums and Q&A
Although there is a big demand for IVF in China, many are clueless about their options and what exactly IVF means. Use Q&A & Forums to educate peoples on the topic with useful content (and promote your clinic in a subtle way).
But also, create dialogue, and have peoples expressing themselves about your services as a clinic. Forums and Q&A topic tends to rank well on Chinese search engines and participate actively in building your brand awareness.
Case Study: The international medical center EMC entered the Chinese market
The European Medical Center (EMC), a well-known multIdisciplinary clinic based in Moscow, chose to act a multi-channel marketing strategy to enter the Chinese market due to the greater trust of Chinese patients in foreign healthcare.
Thanks to our support EMC has a chinese website and is present on two of the most popular social networks in China: Weibo and Wechat. It also could rank on 1st page for “famous reproductive clinic in Russia” on Baidu
To conclude on Promoting IFV Clinic in China
an increasing number of chinese women are seeking for fertility treatments. The demand and utilization of these are continually growing, but the barriers are still too high. China isn’t ready to offer a sufficient answer to this huge demand for service yet.
So, in order to fill this gap, foreign companies that can offer fertility treatments, such as IVF or ART, should start building a digital strategy to enter China.
And you’re considering it?
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our dedicated team can offer a healthcare plan for China’s Online strategy. We know how to promote your business in China using numerous digital tools, such as E-PR, Media Buying (DSP) & Community Management, Baidu SEO and SEM.