About this series
Building Asia is a collection of business stories on CNA that examines the financial forces driving Asia's position as an economic powerhouse.
Raffles Medical Group – Simplifying payments across borders is the third episode in the Building Asia with UOB series and was originally aired on 23 March 2020.
Dr Yang Ching Yu (Medical Director, Raffles Medical Group):
Raffles Hospital Chongqing is our first fully owned and run hospital in China.
We have been in China since 2010. We set up our first medical centre in Shanghai. And a couple of years ago, we (thought) that China is ripe for receiving a more international hospital.
China also wants to reform their healthcare scene. So there's a lot of opportunity for foreign hospital operators like Raffles.
In 2017, Chongqing invited us to build a tertiary international hospital in the West. We not only can serve the expatriate population, but also the local communities, and the Western provinces, even Central Asia.
Leong Yung Chee (Head, Corporate Banking Singapore, UOB):
When Raffles Medical Group first talked about opening up in China, I think one of the key focus areas for them is to make sure the medical practice is a journey that is well thought through. Our input and construction activity for them is to make sure that the infrastructure side of things is as seamless as possible.
(In) China, there (are) actually many forms of payment that patients can make, whether it's cash, credit cards, to mobile apps. But that increases the complexity for the hospitals to reconcile accounting and settlement at the back-end.
We've simplified all that for them, but yet provided a useful means for them to be able to still tag each payment to each discipline, in an easy and efficient manner.
Dr Yang Ching Yu:
We have 11 medical centres in seven cities in China and Hong Kong. With the opening and running of this Chongqing hospital, our Shanghai hospital, and we have planned to even convert our Beijing clinic to a Class 1 hospital. We believe China is big enough for us to even add a few more hospitals.
Leong Yung Chee:
With each market, there are different complexities. The regulatory practices and the environment is very different, when you cross from one border to another. We have been in this market for so long, it puts us in a very good position to help them. And we'll bring the same expertise and knowledge to bear in those situations that we've provided for them.
Dr Yang Ching Yu:
China is not an easy market. Our Chairman always said, we have to look after our patients first and the business will take care of itself.