COVID-19 spurs Ping An Good Doctor to hire hundreds of doctors in Indonesia

Photo: Reuters

China’s Ping An Good Doctor said its healthcare venture with ride hailing firm Grab plans to hire hundreds of doctors in Indonesia after the spread of the coronavirus caused demand for online consultations in the country to almost double.

GrabHealth, launched in Indonesia in late 2019, now conducts nearly 10,000 consultations daily compared to between 5,000 and 6,000 a day prior to the outbreak, Good Doctor CEO Wang Tao told Reuters in an interview.

“The hiring plan is fluid and will depend on user demand,” Wang said. The company declined to say how many doctors it currently has in Indonesia.

Indonesia, which has a population of over 270 million and the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, has seen the number of reported coronavirus infections climb to 686 while 55 people have died.

In China, where the virus first emerged, the outbreak has prompted residents, either worried about coronavirus symptoms or too scared to visit hospitals for other ailments, to flock to platforms such as Good Doctor, Baidu Inc’s Wenyisheng and Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd.

The Good Doctor platform, which is China’s largest, has said it had 3 million monthly paying users at the end of last year.

It saw downloads jump 1,186% in the week to Jan. 26 from the previous week, according to data from App Annie. In its latest earnings filing, the company also said the average number of daily new registrations between Jan. 22-Feb. 6 was ten times greater than first 21 days of January but did not provide specific new registration figures.

Wang added that online consultations requests from overseas Chinese since Jan. 1 have hit almost 10 million.

He said Good Doctor is now aiming to roll out an English version in the second quarter to meet demand from English speakers in China and users in English-speaking countries.

It will also launch online medical services in Japan that will include doctor consultations with SoftBank Group in the second quarter. SoftBank has invested in Good Doctor and the two formed a healthcare joint venture last year. “As countries including Indonesia and Japan learn from China’s experience in dealing with the outbreak, I hope their local governments will support the online health industry as the Chinese government has done,” Wang said.

Longer-term, Good Doctor is looking to gradually proceed with plans formed with Grab to expand within Southeast Asia in countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, he added.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.