Foreign investors can now wholly own hospitals in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan as part of the central government’s move to open the country’s private hospital sector to foreign investment.

China is officially opening up its hospital sector, although in select areas as of now, to cope up with the cost of maintaining a growing list of hospitals around the country. As of last year, China has 11,300 private hospitals.

The identified cities and provinces have been chosen to pilot the program that will entice foreign investors to pour capital into China’s hospitals.

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Around 8,000 public hospitals in China are expected to be privatized over the next five to 10 years, giving a window of opportunity for global healthcare companies to finally enter the huge hospital market in the country.

Approvals for foreign-owned hospitals will be overseen by provincial governments, the Ministry of Commerce said, adding that only investors from Macau, Taiwan and Hong Kong can practice traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). –