Tech companies & the Health Market GAFAM vs BAT

Digital technology is revolutionizing the healthcare sector. The global digital health market was valued at approximately $122.66 billion in 2017.

Healthcare companies around the world are now taking advantage of these exciting changes to create value for patients, clinicians, and shareholders alike.

In recent years, large tech companies like

  • Google (Alphabet),
  • Apple,
  • Facebook,
  • Amazon, or
  • Microsoft

(GAFAM) have started activities in the health care sector. Especially in the United States, the focus is no longer exclusively on so-called „consumer health“ products (such as those found primarily in the fitness sector). The trend goes towards both Rx and OTC products. In other words: customers can buy the products both over the counter and on prescription. This increased interest in the health market is also explained by the worldwide increasing expenditures in the health care system.

  • Baidu,
  • Alibaba and
  • Tencent

are China’s largest internet companies. Often referred to collectively as “BAT”, these three internet giants have quietly expanded into other industries in their search for new opportunities, healthcare is one of these industries. In 2014, BAT announced their intention to enter the mobile healthcare sector, marking another round of competition between them.

There are two paths that they could take to enter this industry: building mobile healthcare service portals into their platforms or investing in existing providers. Alibaba has built “Future Hospital” with the payment platform Alipay as its core, using AliHealth as a platform to expand O2O pharmaceutical business. Tencent has implemented “Intelligent Medical” based on WeChat.

At the Davos Digital Forum, we will have a closer look at their (GAFAM + BAT) business models.

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