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Goldman Sachs and Others Back Wellem in Series C Funding
COVID-19 and China
A newborn baby in hospital. Photo: rapixel.com on Pexel

On April 19th, someone familiar with the matter told iyiou.com (EqualOcean sister website) that in October 2018, Wellem (唯儿诺) had completed its series C funding with hundreds of millions of dollars from Stonebridge Capital, Goldman Sachs, GX Capital (光信资本), Northern Light VC (北极光创投), and Dalton Venture. The specific amount is not disclosed.

Wellem is a pediatric-specialized clinic chain in China. Founded in 2014, Wellem has attracted ventures’ attention and received hundreds of millions of dollars through rounds of financing funding. Dalton Venture has been following Wellem’s growth since series A financing, and Northern Light VC joined the Wellem’s investor club since series B+. Dated now, Wellem has opened 31 clinics in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong. Besides traditional pediatric clinics, some clinics are specialized in physical therapy, some are in dentistry, and some are in optical.

The diversity of pediatric services provided by Wellem roots partly in the social structure of China. As the well-known One-child policy, Chinese family structure deviates from the international trend. According to a study, the only-child population reached 176 million in 2015. Then, it is reasonable to inter the corresponding parent population was 352 million (double the population of the only-child). The only-child family population was 528 million, which was nearly half of the nation’s population.

The Only-child policy caused the inverse pyramid family structure – 421-structure from grandparent to parent to child. The reduced family size urges parents to pay only attention to the child and so bring the demand, which leads to a special social phenomenon – the parent economy.

Parent economy describes the economics that sprung from the special need for only-child family. Finding the best services whether in education or healthcare for the only child is a strong need. Wellem’s birth follows the trend to satiate the need and bring effectiveness to the healthcare system as well.

As Wellem’s founder LIU Xiaoxiao (刘潇潇) said in the past, Wellem would introduce American pediatric clinic system to China with domestication and provide classified referral assistive service for state-owned hospitals. Per referral services, there comes another reason for Wellem’s appearance.

China’s healthcare institutional system is unique compared with developed countries. The referral service is a typical service in the classified healthcare system. The primary care doctors will refer patients to specialized facilities regarding the types and stages of patients’ health condition, which is common in the west. Chinese current healthcare system is weak in the primary care part and hence burdens the state-owned hospitals’ work and lowers the efficiency of healthcare services.

However, China is transitioning the healthcare institutional structure and emphasizing the significance of primary care and the classified healthcare service. Pediatric clinics and other specialized institutes serve for the purpose. The classified healthcare service can effectively use the proper and right resources to patients in most need. More specialized clinics and hospitals will come along with the structural transition and Wellem is walking in the front.

*Contributor: XU Tao, reporter of iyiou.com.
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