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China medical tourism becomes a trend
 
China MEDICAL tourism has become a trend among middle- and high-income residents in the city, according to a report in yesterday's Shenzhen Economic Daily. 
The term medical tourism was coined by travel agencies and media to describe the increasingly popular practice of traveling to another country or region to seek medical care.Most of the popular destinations are in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. In addition to a vigorous publicity campaign, proximity to Shenzhen and convenient visa application processes have contributed to the places' popularity, the paper said.
 
Asia is home to six of the top 10 medical tourism destinations in the world, the paper said, citing an online survey.
 
A woman working in the city's finance industry, Liu, said she went with her friends to Singapore to receive check-ups, where the service was more professional and customized. "After completing my check-up, I could also have a brief holiday in the country," said Liu. Liu said Singapore has the best medical system in Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Besides, a flight from Shenzhen to Singapore only takes two hours and Singapore offers multiple-entry visas to Shenzhen residents, according to Liu. Liu said a checkup in Singapore costs over 1,000 yuan (US$158), which is at the same level as Shenzhen.
 
South Korea is a popular destination for facial treatment and residents go to Japan for medical checkups. Residents can have their medical tours arranged by travel agencies or friends, the paper said. The manager of a medical tourism company in Shenzhen, Liu, said the company started arranging medical tours to Japan from 2009. The tours, which usually last four or five days, cost an average of 20,000 yuan.
 
However, insiders suggest people do background checks on the medical institutions they are bound for before departing. There are more than 400 plastic surgery institutions in South Korea, 150 of which are unqualified, the paper said. Meanwhile, people may be subject to a substantial fine if they cancel reservations with some medical institutions.
 
Residents can complain to the health department in Shenzhen or seek help from Chinese embassies if they have complaints about their medical tours. 
 
 
From China SME Online
 
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Zip code:100029
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