Malaysia’s gain is Singapore’s loss

 

The growing cost competitiveness of Malaysia, says the article, brings bad news to healthcare group, Raffles Medical Group (RMG) but bodes well for HMI’s Mahkota Medical Centre (MMC) in Malaysia as they both embark on aggressive expansion plans in a race to cater to the growing affluence, increased insurance take-up, older age demographic shift and burden on public healthcare systems.

The article quotes analyst Lai Gene Lih, who suggests that RMG is also losing market share to high-end players like IHH. In Singapore, RMG’s revenue growth has lagged IHH’s Singapore operations since Q4 2016. "We believe one of the reasons may be because IHH’s Singapore hospitals, such as Mount Elizabeth and Gleneagles may be more effective in attracting price-inelastic customers," he said.

On the other hand, the article says, Malaysia’s MMC remains well positioned to enjoy positive structural industry factors from medical tourism with its 10% market share in the country’s medical tourism market in Malaysia and over 80,000 foreign patients annually.

"From the angle of medical tourism, we favour HMI’s prospects over RMG’s," Lih says. "Over the longer term, we continue to believe that Malaysia will continue to gain medical tourism market share from Singapore, particularly from Indonesian medical tourists. Indonesia accounts for over 60% of medical tourism receipts/ medical tourists for Singapore and Malaysia respectively."

The article concludes that Singapore can still hold its ground in attracting deep-pocketed medical tourists especially in more complex treatments like oncology, ophthalmology, organ transplants, stem cell treatments and neurological surgeries. This dynamic however is set to benefit premium service providers like IHH rather than RMG, which targets the medical mass market.

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