Union Medical Healthcare has emerged as a leading health service provider since it came onto the scene in 2005. Now, driven by investment in knowledge, it is looking to broaden its coverage of medical disciplines even further
Writer: Tom Wadlow
Project Manager: Callam Waller
Hong Kongers live, on average, longer than people from any other part of the world.
Since 2015, the vibrant urban centre has remained above its closest life expectancy rival Japan, with women enjoying an average lifespan of 87.66 years and men 85.84 years.
Among the factors supporting such long and healthy lives include easy access to well-used and maintained city parks and eateries serving local food which is healthier than many come to believe. It is also no coincidence that hiker-friendly mountain ranges and water sport-conducive beaches lie on Hong Kong’s doorstep.
Another, and perhaps the most obvious human factor, is Hong Kong’s healthcare setup, consistently ranked as the most efficient on earth.
The sector is a hotbed of innovation, and companies such as Union Medical Healthcare (UMH) have emerged as frontrunners in terms of medical service provision.
Founded in 2005 by Tang Chi Fai, UMH began life as a single aesthetic medical centre and has rapidly grown into a one-stop-shop healthcare provider, which from 2013 has included dental care. Karen Chui, Director of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations, describes the Company’s recent growth journey. “UMH has successfully evolved into a multi-discipline medical service provider following two years of listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
“Further to the establishment of a health management centre and acquisition of the largest chiropractic chain in Hong Kong in 2016, we successfully integrated the businesses, increased the efficiency of the medical discipline and expanded to offer physiotherapy and orthopaedic services in 2017.
“According to a report conducted by Frost and Sullivan, we were the largest medical aesthetic service provider in Hong Kong in terms of revenue in 2017, and we are well-positioned to broaden the coverage of medical disciplines.”
In total, UMH operates 54 clinics and service centres (including 13 in China) which combined occupy around 240,000 square feet of floor space across Hong Kong, China and Macau, supported by more than 80 in-house registered practitioners which include doctors, dentists and Chinese medicine practitioners. This footprint also includes a recently acquired chain of chiropractic clinics.
By the end of this year the Company expects to have more specialty clinics, an oncology and day surgery centre, and a diagnostic and imaging centre open for business. It is also busy striking up corporate partnerships, recently inking a deal with lifestyle reward programme Asia Miles to offer access to its re:HEALTH health management centre, UMH DENTAL CARE facility and SPINE Central chiropractic services centre.
“Our niche lies in our capability to nurture our customers to be loyal users to our brand and services,” Chui adds. “We assign a dedicated relationship manager to each of our clients, to understand their and their families’ medical, health and wellness needs, offering tailor-made solutions.”
In order to remain ahead of the chasing pack, Chui lists several areas UMH is planning to invest in to help grow its client base. These priorities include developing a mature marketing strategy, expanding services and products, and increasing the number of practitioners on its books.
Top of her list, however, is investment in technology such as big data and its customer relationship management (CRM) system.
“We do look at medical AI and R&D opportunities as a tool to increase accuracy and efficiency of physicians’ diagnosis, or to enhance customers experience,” Chui adds.
“The founder and the executive management are young and visionary. Mr Tang commenced digitalising the Group a couple of years ago and initiated the management system internally. He has been delivering on his promises to transform the medical industry yet maintaining attractive financial performance to investors.”
As Chui also outlined, a greater breadth of medical products and services is a key investment priority, with a particular focus on preventative and precision medicine as a means of boosting the health of Hong Kongers.
The addition of OrbiMed Advisors LLC (OrbiMed), an American healthcare fund management firm, as a shareholder, has been a gamechanger in this regard.
With wide-reaching access to global developments in medical and healthcare solutions, including products which are yet to roll out in Greater China, Chui states that Union Medical Healthcare is set to harness this capability.
“OrbiMed and its affiliates manage public and private company investments of over $14 billion worldwide,” she adds.
“They have been investing from biopharmaceuticals to medical devices, diagnostics, and healthcare services, across the healthcare industry from early-stage private companies to large multinational corporations globally for over 20 years.”
From the backing of a global medical heavyweight to fostering relationships with communities on its doorstep, UMH prides itself on being a responsible operator in Hong Kong.
Whether it be encouraging employees to volunteer in community services or donating to the Po Leung Kuk (Society for the Protection of Women and Children) to help those less fortunate, the Company recognises the need to remain sensitive to local cultures and their needs.
This includes acting sustainably and preserving the local environment. UMH has been awarded a Green Office accreditation by the World Green Organisation, fulfilling 150 criteria across energy, water, waste, paper, procurement, IT, transport, education and innovation categories.
The firm’s CSR activity also involves offering students a platform to showcase ideas. “We have organised a competition with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,” Chui says. “Students in the course have been invited to define ‘GP 2.0 design concepts’, focusing on clinical facility and functions that can bring patience experience to the next level.”
By leveraging the expertise of global networks, local and global suppliers and budding healthcare experts from nearby education institutes, UMH is well-set to build on a formidable knowledge base and thrive as an industry go-to for the foreseeable future.