If China’s private-sector health system develops sufficiently, the country could become a key destination for medical tourism, say experts.
Just as India and Thailand have attracted thousands of people from overseas who pay for major treatments including cosmetic surgery and organ transplants, so the China, with its competitive labour rates that translate into keenly priced fees, might be able to draw in larger numbers.
“I think China would have the capability to attract overseas [patients] to have their operations, if they can afford it,” says Pei Likun, a professor and executive director of the Centre of China Studies at La Trobe University in Australia.
She says in terms of “facilities or capacities”, health care in China is often “very, very good” with many hospitals equipped with high-quality equipment.
Already, both private and government hospitals in China are offering treatment to patients from overseas, although development of the medical tourism sector is in its early stages.
In India the situation is more advanced with medical tourism expected to be worth as much as US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) annually in the coming years.