Dallas firm joins Asian healthcare investment stampede

Of late, the healthcare investment climate in key Asian markets has heated up dramatically. Not only are a number of investment firms opening or sinking dollars into hospitals in growing economies like China and Malaysia, health plans like Aetna and CIGNA are jockeying for their piece of the action too. 

The latest action in this space comes from China Health Care Corp., Dallas, which has agreed to take a 70 percent stake in a Beijing hospital, in a deal that is expected to close late this year. Under the terms of the deal, China Health Care will convert the as-yet-unnamed general hospital into an obstetrics specialty provider. The hospital will be managed by the company's China-based division, United Premier Medical Group. The hospital will serve as a hub facility for other subspecialty facilities and providers, a model that China Health Care expects to repeat as it expands.

Despite the similar name, China Health Care Corp. is not to be confused with China Healthcare Corp. of Nashville, which is backed by the eminent reputation and vast financial resources of HCA co-founder Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. China Healthcare will kick off its operations by building and operating a 500- to 600-bed hospital in Shanghai. The startup will be run by Dr. Frist's son-in-law, Chuck Elcan, a former executive with a real estate investment trust focused on medical office buildings.

Meanwhile, Asian healthcare watchers should also keep a close eye on Seattle investment firm Columbia Pacific, which plans to build out 39 facilities across several Asian countries by the end of the decade. Columbia Pacific has already raised $135 million to go after the healthcare market in India. Its Asian venture, Columbia Asia, has 13 facilities in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.  In late August, Columbia Asia announced that it had raised a large additional round of funding, bringing its total equity to $325 million.

To learn more about the latest Asian healthcare investment:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece

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