UK firm selected to develop and run Chinese hospitals worth $2.2bn

China’s largest property company, Wanda Group, has selected a British firm to develop and run a set of three new "world-leading" hospitals as it moves into China’s massive healthcare sector.

Billed as an example of UK-Chinese trade levels being at "historic highs", the deal’s signing was witnessed today by UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond.

It sees healthcare firm International Hospitals Group (IHG) helping Wanda build, equip and commission a new, 200-bed hospital in Qingdao, China over the next three years.

(The deal) highlights the UK’s leading position to meet growing demand for healthcare cooperation in China and as a partner of choice in a range of sectors– UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond

When the hospital is finished in 2018 IHG will run it under the brand "IHG Wanda International" under a 20 year lease, until 2038.

Wanda plans to develop two more hospitals like this with IHG: a 1,000-bed hospital in Shanghai and one with 500 beds in Chengdu.

The three projects will cost Wanda $2.2bn (£1.5bn), according to a UK government statement.

IHG said it expects the 10-year exclusive partnership with Wanda to result in revenues of nearly $440m (£300m).

Wanda Group said today that the three hospitals will be developed in accordance with the "highest international design and construction standards".

IHG will have to ensure they obtain Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations, or an international equivalent.

Foreign Secretary Hammond said the deal "highlights the UK’s leading position to meet growing demand for healthcare cooperation in China and as a partner of choice in a range of sectors."

Trade and investment between the UK and China has hit "historic highs", the government statement said, with up to $58.6bn (£40bn) in deals being signed during Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in October last year.

An antenatal class in Xining, China (Kelly Dombroski/Wikimedia Commons)

The statement claimed that UK expertise is sought-after by Chinese companies seeking commercial healthcare partnerships.

"We look forward to harnessing UK expertise to bring healthcare opportunities to China and beyond," said Wanda Group chairman, Wang Jianlin.

"Wanda is bringing world-leading hospitals to China to benefit people with premium healthcare demands and fuel the ongoing development of the market in China."

The Qingdao hospital partnership was first announced in September 2015.

It will be located in Wanda’s Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, a vast entertainment-oriented industrial park scheduled to open in August 2018.

China’s massive healthcare market is attracting interest from companies around the world since the Chinese government began easing restrictions on foreign investment into the sector, Singapore Business Review noted this week.

Photograph: Chinese surgery being demonstrated on the street (Wikimedia Commons)

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