The founder of Meidaila, a medical beauty e-commerce and online community, told AllChinaTech about the company’s vision and plans for the USD 12 million in Series B funding the company raised at the end of 2015. The round of investment was led by IDG Capital and Ping An Ventures, followed by returning investor Banyan Capital.
Zhao Ying, founder and CEO of the company and also the former editor-in-chief of leading news portal NetEase, said the round of financing will be used to develop its e-commerce business, one of its two core operations. The other being its online community building.
In January 2015, Meidaila launched an app along with its online community. Unlike other online plastic surgery communities that focus on doctors, the company’s community is customer-oriented.
Zhao explained that the advancement of technology and social recognition around plastic surgery has laid a solid foundation for the medical beauty industry. She went on to say that plastic surgery is grounded in medical science and is safe and more effective than cosmetics — something that has been accepted by more and more people looking to improve their appearance.
“Almost all women want to become more beautiful, but not all know what kind of cosmetic or plastic surgery they should do, nor do they know what changes the surgery may bring,” said Zhao.
“The app we launched will solve this problem. We built an online community where users can share their medical beauty experiences. We also invited celebrities and opinion leaders to share their experience and opinions on medical beauty. Additionally, there is data on doctors and hospitals. When you want to do any cosmetic or plastic surgery, you can check the information on the app first.”
The platform now has one million registered female users and tens of thousands of postings every day. Zhao said that they want to expand to more than 10 million users and so far have no plans to open it to men.
She said the medical beauty industry is too big to miss out on. The industry is estimated to be worth between RMB 50-100 billion with an estimated 15% annual growth rate, according to a Renmin University Economic Forum in 2014 .
Zhao said that means the Chinese medical beauty industry has a lot of room to grow compared to the global market leader, South Korea. She said South Korea has a market 15 times the size of China’s, but a population just one twenty-seventh as large.
“It’s estimated there are 200 million female consumers in the cosmetic surgery and service industry. All of them could be our target-users,” said Zhao.
In September 2015, the company launched its e-commerce group-buying business Meigou, or “beauty shopping”. The platform introduces medical beauty services with information about prices, doctors and hospitals.
“There are three factors that matter most to users when they hesitate to have cosmetic surgery: security, service quality and price. The app first does research on doctors and hospitals and only allows those with good reputations to register to ensure user-security and service quality,” Zhao said. “As for the price [for group buying], users usually have a 50% or 40% discount if they book online compared to the offline price offered directly by hospitals.”
Zhao said that her platform will continue to focus on improving their services and said there are no plans to grow an offline business.
She said that the reason is simple: the cosmetic surgery industry is so large businesses get big simply by listing all clinics to their apps quickly and without vetting.
“But do you dare introduce these clinics to your users? In general, there’s a lack of regulation in the industry. Some clinics won’t even build full medical records for customers,” she said.
“As a female, my ultimate goal is to help our users pursue beauty like I do, to create real benefits for customers and to enjoy the process of becoming beautiful through medical science. That is our vision.”
Right now there are several major players in this sector. In March 2016, Xinyang, an O2O medical beauty platform, secured USD 50 million in Series C financing. In October 2015, Mingyizhudao, a platform that connects patients to doctors, received RMB 60 million (USD 9.2 million) in Series A financing. In July 2015, Gengmei, an app for cosmetic surgery, announced that it has received tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing.
(Top photo from tech.sina.com)