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Samsung eyes China health market

South Korea’s tech giant Samsung Electronics is stepping up its efforts to increase its foothold in the Chinese health care market.

The firm has reportedly inked a partnership deal with China’s second-largest insurer Pin Ang Insurance to develop mobile health care solutions and platforms, which enable Samsung devices ― such as the Galaxy smartphones and smart watches equipped with heart rate sensors ― to be used for medical purposes.

The two companies reportedly plan to combine Samsung’s mobile health care platform, S Health, and the Chinese firm’s mobile health care services to create a comprehensive platform in China. This is expected to accelerate the adoption of remote health monitoring systems in the local market.

The Chinese government plans to resolve problems stemming from the shortage of medical personnel and facilities by deploying online systems and mobile devices. The mobile health care market is expected to grow from 2.4 billion yuan in 2013 to 12.5 billion yuan in 2017, according to a January report of China Medical Pharmaceutical Material Association.

Samsung is also said to have made agreements with Chinese firm Yonyou Software to build medical information systems which will allow telemedicine and enable patients to readily check their health condition without visiting medical facilities.

Some market officials are of the view that Samsung is trying to create its own ecosystem in the new field to get ahead of the competition and take the lead in converging health care and IT.

Lee Jay-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, put emphasis on convergence between IT, medicine and biotechnology at the annual economic conference Boao Forum for Asia in China earlier this year by saying that “Samsung sees great opportunities” in relevant sectors.

Having launched its own health care platform, Healthkit, and the first wearable Apple Watch, Samsung’s arch rival Apple has jumped on the bandwagon too.

The company has partnered with a dozen U.S. major clinical institutes including Mayo Clinic to utilize the health care platform to compile data for monitoring patients and diseases.

By Kim Young-won (