Neigh­bor­hood scalpels to beau­tify lo­cal faces

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WEN­QIAN

Med­i­cal and cos­metic surgery ser­vices from SouthKorea are ex­pected to be­come more widely avail­able in China as a re­sult of the bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment or FTA that took ef­fect on Sun­day.

Un­der the agree­ment, doc­tors who are li­censed in South Korea, in­clud­ing plas­tic sur­geons, can work in China for six months to a year. This could mean Chi­nese cus­tomers may be able to get door-todoor cos­metic surgery ser­vices from South Korean doc­tors.

In the past five years, the num­ber of Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing South Korea for med­i­cal tours surged twen­ty­fold, with about 25,000 peo­ple trav­el­ing an­nu­ally. Nearly 70 per­cent went to SouthKorea for cos­metic surg­eries, ac­cord­ing to South Korean sta­tis­tics.

Cur­rently, most vis­it­ing Chi­nese cus­tomers choose Korean hos­pi­tals for cos­metic surg­eries based on the rec­om­men­da­tions of Chi­nese agen­cies. They not only af­ford ex­pen­sive surgery costs but lack le­gal pro­tec­tion in the event of med­i­cal malpractices.

The FTA will bring more Korean doc­tors to China, which will help Chi­nese cus­tomers to sig­nif­i­cantly save on costs like trans­porta­tion, ac­com­mo­da­tion and in­ter­me­di­ary fees.

The cos­metic surgery mar­ket in South Korea is nearly sat­u­rated. By work­ing in China, Korean sur­geons will be able to get out of the com­pet­i­tive do­mes­tic mar­ket, and seize op­por­tu­ni­ties mar­ket.

Some cities in North­east and East China that are near South Korea will be able to ob­tain ad­vanced Korean med­i­cal tech­niques, drugs and equip­ment, and es­tab­lish in­ter­na­tional health cen­ters. The cities in­clude Yan­bian in Jilin prov­ince, Dalian in Liaon­ing prov­ince, and Yan­tai and Qing­dao in Shan­dong prov­ince.

He Dongliang is a well-known nasal plas­tic sur­geon in Dalian who se­tuphisown­hos­pi­tal. He stud­ied in


the huge Chi­nese South Korea for a year. There are plenty of plas­tic surgery hos­pi­tals in South Korea, and the qual­ity of their work is un­even, but it is gen­er­ally bet­ter than in China, he said.

“Plas­tic sur­geons in South Korea fol­low strict pro­ce­dures and pay care­ful at­ten­tion to de­tail. In China, the cost of some surg­eries, like mak­ing­dou­bleeyelids, can­be­un­rea­son­ably high,” he said.

Many South Korean hos­pi­tals, how­ever, charge less than those in China, and they will be very com­pet­i­tive and af­fect busi­ness of their Chi­nese peers, he said. “Thecom­pe­ti­tion will stim­u­late the growth of the mar­ket and help trans­form the Chi­nese per­cep­tion of plas­tic surgery.”

His wife Kim Ji-young of South Korean ori­gins has been in China for nearly 10 years. She is a skin ex­pert who works at her hus­band’s hos­pi­tal. “Many years ago, some friends didn’t understand why we didn’t go to the United States to work there. Now, they think it was a very wise de­ci­sion for us to stay on in China.”

Plas­tic sur­geons in South Korea fol­low strict pro­ce­dures and pay care­ful at­ten­tion to de­tail. In China, the cost of some surg­eries, like making dou­ble eye­lids, can be un­rea­son­ably high.”

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