Knight Blog Post

China’s ultra-rich outbound medical tourists to grow up to 30% despite decline in overall luxury spending

L'VOYAGE, a Hong Kong based private jet chartering company, sees a growing interest amongst Chinese ultra-rich individuals in luxury overseas medical and wellness trips. The top destinations for mainstream Chinese medical tourists who tend to be more price sensitive are Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The ultra-rich with a personal net worth of at least USD50 million however, are less price sensitive. They prefer to fly by private jet and are increasingly choosing to travel further abroad to Europe and the United States for more advanced treatments, drugs and technologies that are not available in China or the Asia Pacific region.

Market information provider, Global Growth Markets estimates that outbound Chinese medical tourism is a USD9.7 billion market. “About 4,300 ultra-rich Chinese sought medical care and health treatments overseas in 2015, spending over USD450 million on IVF, advanced cancer and cardiac treatments, stem-cell treatments, health check-ups and wellness programs. On top of that, these ultra-rich patients spent over USD100 million on travel and sightseeing for these medical trips. We expect this segment to grow faster than the rest of the market, at around 30% annually over the next few years, as more than half of these ultra-rich people will seek overseas treatment in the future,” said Pete Read, CEO of Global Growth Markets.

“We are seeing a growing number of inquiries about flying by private jet to France, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom from our ultra-rich Chinese customers for the purpose of medical tourism. Not only are there advanced specialist hospitals in these countries, but also cultural landmarks and experiences that are popular with our clientele. Sometimes, relatives will travel overseas together for health checks and a family holiday,” said L'VOYAGE founder and chairman, Diana Chou. "To cater to the growing trend in wellness and medical tourism, we cater our inflight menus to strict dietary instructions upon request and help pre-book return flights on the desired private jets for follow-up doctor appointments. At the moment, many of our Chinese ultra high net worth customers take off from airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou but we expect a gradual increase in flights from interior cities, such as Dalian, Chengdu, and Chongqing, where the population of ultra-rich individuals is set to grow at a faster rate than other cities.”