China’s Jinxin Fertility wants HK’s aspiring parents to cross the border for cheaper IVF treatment, but protests may hinder promotion blitz

15-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Jinxin Fertility is planning a marketing blitz to lure Hong Kong’s aspiring parents to venture across the border into mainland China for much cheaper assisted pregnancy services.

By doing so it hopes to double the amount of business it does with Hong Kong couples. However the city’s current political crisis means the Chengdu-based firm may have to put the campaign originally planned for December on hold for a while.

The company, which floated shares in Hong Kong in June to fund expansion, wants Hong Kong customers to make up 20 per cent of the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments conducted at its Shenzhen branch next year, up from 10 per cent of a total of about 6,000 treatments this year.

“Although many Hong Kong people are not familiar with mainland medical services, with more communications and promotions, we believe more of them will come,” Jinxin’s senior vice president Zeng Yong,who also heads the Shenzhen branch, told reporters on Friday during a site visit.

“When the political situation stabilises, we will conduct seminars in some Hong Kong hotels to explain our services and standards.”

The company achieved a success rate the number of pregnancies divided by the number of fresh and frozen embryo transfers of 54 per cent last year, well ahead of the national average of 45 per cent, according to figures from Frost & Sullivan cited in its listing prospectus. Frost & Sullivan had been hired by Jinxin to carry out market research.

According to an analysis by health-care consultancy L.E.K. citing Ping An Securities data, the success rate of China’s roughly 320 IVF centres ranges from 30 to 40 per cent, compared to 70 to 80 per cent in the US, where most treatments are done using more advanced third-generation technology. Less than 10 per cent use that technology in China.

Hong Kong doctors normally charge HK$170,000 to $200,000 for each treatment cycle, three to four times the amount charged by Jinxin. But Jinxin’s doctors have to handle up to three times the number of patients within the same time period, Zeng said.

“But our eventual pregnancy rate and birth rates are quite comparable to Hong Kong. For women younger than 35, our success rate is 90 per cent over three treatment cycles.”

Among just over 10,000 Hong Kong people who receive IVF services each year, only around 40 per cent opt to have the procedure in the city, with the rest mostly travelling to the US, Thailand and Taiwan, according to Deng Jianglin, deputy director of Jinxin’s Shenzhen branch.

“We intended to roll out a comprehensive publicity campaign in December, including hiring an agency to help us conduct on-site promotions, but the current political climate is not favourable,” she said. Deng was referring to the four months of violent protests that have disrupted Hong Kong life and damaged the economy.

Jinxin plans to establish an “express green channel” to shorten waiting times for its border-crossing Hong Kong customers, who will have the option of being served by Cantonese-speaking doctors.

It charges them the same 41,000 to 46,000 yuan per treatment cycle price as its mainland clients.

Jinxin plans to spend a fifth of the HK$2.8 billion it raised from its shares flotation to fund the acquisition of peers in provinces outside Sichuan and Guangdong, where it already has operations.

About a sixth of China’s 300 million couples of reproductive age are infertile, of which a sixth again would like to have babies but cannot, according to Jinxin. Among those who could benefit from assisted reproductive services, only 6.5 per cent have received them.

China’s births by IVF came to just under 300,000 last year, less than 2 per cent of the 15 million total births, far lower than Japan’s 6 per cent.

“Although China’s population is increasing, the number of people in their reproductive years is falling. What’s more, as people are getting married and having children later in life, their fertility declines by the time they want to have babies,” said Jinxin’s co-CEO Zhong Yong.

A law change four years ago that replaced China’s famous one-child policy with a two-child policy has also increased demand for assisted pregnancy services.


Category: China

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