Business / Industries

Cosmetic surgery clinic set to make a pretty penny

By Xie Yu in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-30 07:16

The first jointly invested South Korea-China cosmetic surgery clinic in Shanghai is set to open next month, as more Chinese people are willing to go under the knife to improve their looks.

"Chinese customers now account for 60 percent of the cosmetic surgery market in South Korea," said Yang Yunyun, chief project manager of the South Korea-backed Saint Baum Aesthetic Hospital.

Data provided by the South Korean embassy in China shows about 1 million Chinese getting medical tourism visas to visit South Korea in 2012. A considerable portion of them had surgery done on their eyelids, nose or chin.

Cosmetic surgery clinic set to make a pretty penny
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Cosmetic surgery clinic set to make a pretty penny
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Along with the surgery, they also took in the sights and went shopping.

But Yang's hospital stands ready to reverse that trend when it opens next month.

"The fact is that not all the people want to have surgery in a strange country. Many would prefer to do it in a familiar environment, and convalesce at home, which gives a sense of security and relaxation, and that is where we come in," Yang said.

Saint Baum, located in Shanghai's northern Bund area, is worth the investment of 10 billion won ($9.7 million). Seventy percent of the investment comes from South Korea-based Enjiness Ltd Saint Baum, and 30 percent is from two Chinese firms. The private hospital plans to go public in China within five years, Yang said.

Many beauty salons in China claim to use Korean treatments or to hire South Korean doctors, but Saint Baum is the first hospital held by a Korean firm to get a hospital license from the Shanghai authorities. The hospital hired several senior South Korean doctors, each licensed as a foreign doctor by the Chinese health authorities.

It is hard to estimate how many people in China get cosmetic surgery each year, as not all surgeries are done at licensed hospitals.

But according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the value of China's plastic surgery market surpassed 300 billion yuan ($45 billion) in 2011 (0.6 percent of GDP) and is booming with an annual growth of 40 percent.

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