Eye hospi­tal plans ex­pan­sion in US

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A doc­tor who is a na­tive of China has part­nered with one of the main­land’s largest hospi­tal chains to open clin­ics in the US.

China’s Aier Eye Hospi­tal plans to en­ter the Amer­i­can mar­ket this year and has a long-term goal of open­ing eye clin­ics across the coun­try. Dr Ming Wang of the Wang Vi­sion In­sti­tute in Nashville will serve as the CEO of Aier-USA.

“(The) Wang Vi­sion In­sti­tute has just be­come the first Aier Eye Clinic in the (US) so this year we are get­ting set up,” Wang said in an email. “Our plan is start look­ing at (an­other) site in 2018.”

Wang said the Aier Eye Clin­ics in the US will per­form 3D laser vi­sion pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing cataract surg­eries and LASIK, a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that uses a laser to re­move corneal tis­sue to cor­rect near­sight­ed­ness and far­sight­ed­ness.

Wang, who was born in Hangzhou be­fore com­ing to the US, said Aier has a suc­cess­ful track record in China built by start­ing out in the ru­ral ar­eas where the need was the great­est.

“Our Aier-USA may start by look­ing into the ru­ral ar­eas of the US as well, and we are also look­ing into medium and large cities. Our model is to grow through merger and ac­qui­si­tion and also build from the ground up if needed,” he said.

Startup cap­i­tal will come from the Aier Eye Hospi­tal in China which has put $50 mil­lion into Aier-USA, ac­cord­ing to Wang. Aier is cur­rently the world’s largest eye hospi­tal group with 253 lo­ca­tions in seven coun­tries.

Wang said that most US eye care clin­ics are cur­rently small-scale oper­a­tions run by in­di­vid­ual pri­vate prac­ti­tion­ers.

With the need for ex­pen­sive tech­nol­ogy and an abil­ity to ab­sorb the ris­ing cost of mar­ket­ing and busi­ness oper­a­tions, many of those prac­tices may be ripe for a con­sol­ida­tor like Aier with its ex­pe­ri­ence of run­ning a large eye prac­tice that can take ad­van­tage of the economies of scale, he added.

Even though the US al­ready has an es­tab­lished net­work of clin­ics and hos­pi­tals that per­form these pro­ce­dures, Wang be­lieves that Aier pos­sesses a track record of suc­cess to build on.

“Aier has had a suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ence of build­ing and run­ning the world’s largest eye-care group. We un­der­stand that (the) US and China are dif­fer­ent in many ways and we need to do things the Amer­i­can way here in the US,” Wang said.

Ming Wang, of the Wang Vi­sion In­sti­tute in Nashville

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