TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has acquired one of China’s largest private hospital chains Amcare Healthcare for $1.5 billion, reported Bloomberg. According to a source close to the development, the deal for the full ownership of Amcare, which operates several women’s and children’s hospital in cities from Beijing to Shenzhen, was finalised for 10 billion yuan. Two ByteDance subsidiaries now own a combined 100 per cent of the hospital chain.
Founded in 2006, Amcare runs eight hospitals across four cities in China. The company obtained a government licence for in-vitro fertilization operations by acquiring a hospital in Beijing in 2020. Amcare’s investors, prior to the acquisition by ByteDance, included China Renaissance, Warburg Pincus, and Hillhouse Capital, reported Bloomberg.
The deal follows a minority stake acquisition in Amcare by Bytedance subsidiary in 2021. Xiaohe Health Technology, the healthcare investment subsidiary of ByteDance bought a 17 per cent stake in Amcare in September 2021, which later increased to 30 per cent, reported South China Morning Post.
The deal is being seen as part of ByteDance’s attempt to foray into the healthcare sector. ByteDance’s healthcare app Xiohe offering online consultation, healthcare appointments and wellness services is one of the key players in the segment. The online health care segment has received a big boost in recent times by China’s strong measures to curb COVID-19 cases.
China’s online healthcare market which was estimated to be around 22 billion yuan in 2020, is forecast to scale up to 198 billion yuan (US$29 billion) by 2025, claimed market research firm, Frost & Sullivan.
Earlier, ByteDance had announced plans to design its own semiconductor chipset for its own use in specialized fields because it hasn’t been able to find suppliers that can meet its requirements, a spokesperson told CNBC. The company, however, did not intend to manufacture the chips for sale to other countries.
The chips will be customised to handle workload related to the company’s multiple business areas including video platforms, information and entertainment apps.
ByteDance’s announcement came at a time when the Chinese government has been trying to become more self-sufficient in critical technology.
ByteDance joins a slew of other Chinese tech companies that have or intend to venture into the manufacturing of semiconductors. Previously, Alibaba had released its self-designed chips despite not having a traditional background in semiconductors.