China Looks to Boost its Healthcare Service Industry
China’s State Council released the “Several Opinions on Promoting the Development of the Healthcare Service Industry (guofa  No. 40, hereinafter referred to as ‘Opinions’)” on October 14, which puts forward several development goals for the country’s healthcare industry to achieve by 2020. Detailed information can be found below.
The Opinions define the healthcare service industry for the first time, providing that the healthcare service industry aims at maintaining and promoting the physical and psychological health of the masses and mainly includes the following:
- Medical services;
- Health management and promotion; and
- Health insurance and relevant services.
Moreover, the “healthcare industry” encompasses a wide range of industries and involves the following supporting industries:
- Medical apparatuses;
- Health care products;
- Health foods; and
- Fitness products.
By 2020, the healthcare service industry shall become an important force in promoting the sustainable development of society, and its total scale is expected to reach RMB8 trillion. Moreover, the country shall establish a healthcare service industry system covering the entire life cycle while cultivating a batch of well-known brands and healthcare service industrial clusters.
The Opinions have listed out the following five specific goals for the country’s healthcare service industry:
1. Significantly improving medical service capabilities
- The medical treatment and healthcare service system shall be more complete, and a diversified medical organizational structure shall be formed with non-profit medical institutions being the leading force, and profit-making medical institutions being the supplementary force.
2. Significantly improving the healthcare management and promotion service level
- Great development shall be achieved with respect to Chinese traditional medicine healthcare, elderly care, healthcare consultation management, physical fitness assessment, physical fitness and healthcare tourism.
3. Further improving the healthcare insurance services
- Commercial healthcare insurance products shall be further enriched and the number of the insured shall be substantially increased.
4. Significantly expanding the scale of supporting industries in relation to healthcare services
- The technologies in researching, developing and manufacturing medicine, medical apparatus and instruments, rehabilitation aids, healthcare products and body-building products shall be greatly improved.
5. Continuously optimizing the development environment for the healthcare service industry
- The legal sysytem for the healthcare service industry shall be established, with industrial standards being more scientific and complete.
The Opinions explicitly state that enterprises, charity organizations, foundations and commercial insurance institutions are encouraged to invest in the medical service industry through the establishment of new institutions, participation in institutional reform, trusteeships and private operation of state-run institutions.
Moreover, the requirements on establishing Sino-foreign joint ventures and cooperative medical institutions will be further relaxed, and the pilot program of wholly foreign-owned medical institutions will be gradually expanded.
The Opinions further provides that market entry requirements for the healthcare service industry will be relaxed, and an open, transparent, equal and standardized access system for the healthcare service industry will be established.
In addition, the country will offer preferential tax policies to the healthcare industry and widen the payment channels for medical insurance at the same time.