As China’s market for goods and services centered around the country’s pregnant women and babies blooms, foreign entrepreneurs are seeing the vast potential for opportunities in the market.
Bonnie Roupé is founder and CEO of Bonzun, a website and app focused on delivering pregnancy information to women in China, and is a seasoned entrepreneur who has won honors in Sweden and at China’s Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC). She has single-handedly built her app based on a unique algorithm that she developed. She was inspired by the experience she had trying to find information during complications she encountered during her second pregnancy. She wants to help other women.
“Globally, 800 pregnant women are dying every day ( according to WHO),” Roupé told AllChinaTech. “I want to make a change.”
For the past four years, she’s lived in Shanghai, where she saw the market opportunity in China. She bet everything she had — sold her house, car, and first company — to start Bonzun.
The app helps track and translate pregnant women’s test results into graphs to help them have a better understanding of their pregnancy health.
“Sometimes, users want to have evidence-based information; sometimes, they don’t have access to health care; and sometimes, they don’t understand what their doctors say. So our app can be their second companion and they can learn more about their health,” said Bonnie.
She added that their advice on maternal care come from Swedish midwives. For instance, if a pregnant woman has a headache, generally, doctors will tell her to have a rest, but the app will tell her to see a doctor if she is over 28.
The app also provides pregnant women with pregnancy specific research, information, symptom checkers and test trackers that will help them understand whether the changes to their bodies are normal or not.
Primarily targeting Chinese, Roupé said the app has already attracted 800,000 Chinese users in the past year since it went online in 2015. And it has cooperated with 400 hospitals. She said there’s a tendency for certain Chinese users to prefer seeking opinions abroad. That’s where her western background gives her an advantage and she sees the potential to connect a large network of tens of thousands of foreign doctors to serve their users.
She said in general the services for users are free, but the company profits from added value services. She said that pregnant women are given the option to purchase different services from doctors or certain products. They are also offered packages for medical tourism. Bonzun takes a cut from each deal between the app’s users and the service and product providers.
Still, the company is run as a startup. It is in the process of Series A financing to help fuel expansion. She said that so far they have primarily looked to Chinese VCs, as right now it is a great time for attracting investment in startups providing services to women and children, including pregnancy app iBaby that recently completed a round of Series A financing worth RMB tens of millions. Bonnie believes that, by courtesy of their products and foreign services, Bonzun can find strong local partners and thrive in the market.
She also said the potential “baby boom” in China due to the implementation of the universal two-child policy this year is a bonus for her company and that she will seize the opportunity.
AllChinaTech has a media partnership with GMIC. AllChinaTech is a startup media platform dedicated to providing timely news and analysis on the Chinese tech industry in English.
(Top photo is a screenshot from Bonzun.com.)