HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- China's We Doctor Holdings on Wednesday said it raised $500 million from investors led by life-and-medical insurer AIA Group and construction-and-logistics-services provider NWS Holdings, saying the financing marked the largest pre-initial public offering fundraising in the nation's technology-based medical and healthcare sector.
The fund-raising will take WeDoctor's valuation to $5.5 billion on completion, the company, which is backed by internet services major Tencent Holdings, said in a statement. WeDoctor said existing shareholders and new investors such as CICFH, also participated in the fundraising, without providing specific details about the investment amounts and changes in its ownership structure.
Brian Cheng, an executive director at NWS, said the company has been making "substantial investments" in the clinical and healthcare management sector and the investment in WeDoctor "confirms our confidence in the prospect of this market." Hong Kong-listed NWS is majority owned by property major New World Development.
In a separate news release issued earlier on Wednesday, AIA said that under the terms of its long-term strategic agreement, its customers will have preferred access to WeDoctor's network of 2,700 hospitals, 220,000 doctors and more than 15,000 pharmacies across China, while WeDoctor's 110 million registered customers can avail AIA's protection plans in the areas where AIA China operates.
"Together, we hope to tackle China's growing protection gap by providing WeDoctor's customers access" to AIA's wellness and insurance propositions, John Cai, the insurer's regional chief executive, said in the release.
WeDoctor provides healthcare services including appointment booking, online consultation and offline clinics to its customers. The private company expects an initial public offering in Hong Kong within one-and-a-half years, its Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Chan said last month.
AIA shares 0.5% as of 11:16 a.m. in Hong Kong, while NWS slipped 0.7%. The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.1%.
-- V. Phani Kumar