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Business Trends

Taiwanese Apple supplier opens pet hospital

Compal Electronics looks beyond iPads as pet care margins much higher

Compal Electronics's new pet hospital is equipped with a computed tomography scanner and one magnetic resonance imaging machine. (Photo by Lauli Li)

TAIPEI -- Apple supplier Compal Electronics opened the first veterinary hospital that provides scans and internal imaging for pets in Taiwan, as part of its strategy to diversify operations and raise profitability.

"With the rising demand for pet care in Taiwan, we are upbeat about the growth potential in this sector," Compal President Ray Chen told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of UniCore Animal Hospital.

Compal is a smaller rival to Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, in assembling Apple's iPads, and Quanta Computer in assembling Apple Watch. It also manufactures notebook computers for companies such as Lenovo Group and Acer.

Compal has been in the smart medical business for three years, which previously only focused on human health care solutions and medical treatments.

Chen said the average margin for original electronics manufacturing services ranged between 3% and 4%, while the margin performance for health care solutions could exceed at least 20%, which would significantly raise Compal's profitability.

"The combined revenue contribution of Compal's health care-related business is relatively small at the moment, but the growth potential in profitability is very impressive," Chen said. 

Compal invested 200 million New Taiwan dollars ($6.82 million) to set up UniCore, including the purchase of a computed tomography scanner and a magnetic resonance imaging machine, both of which are the most advanced in the industry, the company said.

UniCore will operate with a medical team from the College of Veterinary Medicine at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. The hospital will specialize in conducting CT scans and MRI on pets and providing imaging analysis. The imaging examination at UniCore will cost from NT$12,000 to more than NT$20,000, the hospital said, adding that scans have been fully booked since it launched a trial operation at the beginning of the year. 

Compal said UniCore does not rule out expanding its pet care operation overseas via collaboration with Japanese, Thai and U.S. universities linked to National Pingtung University of Science and Technology.

In addition to pet care, Compal's medical treatments include research on stem cell treatment for knee osteoarthritis and immune therapy to treat cancers. Compal had applied for patents in the U.S. and China for the treatments and it plans to apply for permissions on clinical trials in Taiwan later this year, the company said. 

Compal said its launch of remote health care solutions for diabetes, iDiabCare, integrates its capability in maintaining electronic medical records, big data analysis and hospital services.

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