Eye hospital plans expansion in US

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-07-18 10:17

A doctor who is a native of China has partnered with one of the mainland's largest hospital chains to open clinics in the US.

China's Aier Eye Hospital plans to enter the American market this year and has a long-term goal of opening eye clinics across the country. Dr Ming Wang of the Wang Vision Institute in Nashville will serve as the CEO of Aier-USA.

"(The) Wang Vision Institute has just become the first Aier Eye Clinic in the (US) so this year we are getting set up," Wang said in an email. "Our plan is start looking at (another) site in 2018."

Eye hospital plans expansion in US

Wang said the Aier Eye Clinics in the US will perform 3D laser vision procedures, including cataract surgeries and LASIK, a surgical procedure that uses a laser to remove corneal tissue to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Wang, who was born in Hangzhou before coming to the US, said Aier has a successful track record in China built by starting out in the rural areas where the need was the greatest.

"Our Aier-USA may start by looking into the rural areas of the US as well, and we are also looking into medium and large cities. Our model is to grow through merger and acquisition and also build from the ground up if needed," he said.

Startup capital will come from the Aier Eye Hospital in China which has put $50 million into Aier-USA, according to Wang. Aier is currently the world's largest eye hospital group with 253 locations in seven countries.

Wang said that most US eye care clinics are currently small-scale operations run by individual private practitioners.

With the need for expensive technology and an ability to absorb the rising cost of marketing and business operations, many of those practices may be ripe for a consolidator like Aier with its experience of running a large eye practice that can take advantage of the economies of scale, he added.

Even though the US already has an established network of clinics and hospitals that perform these procedures, Wang believes that Aier possesses a track record of success to build on.

"Aier has had a successful experience of building and running the world's largest eye-care group. We understand that (the) US and China are different in many ways and we need to do things the American way here in the US," Wang said.

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