China’s Hainan region is so pleasant, it has come to be known as the nation’s equivalent of Hawaii.
Now, the country wants to use the area to lure patients who might otherwise leave China and travel abroad for their medical coverage.
Bloomberg reports, however, that Chinese officials face an uphill battle in turning this beachside oasis into a region festooned with hospitals, top-tier doctors and crucial drugs.
The impetus behind the campaign is the tremendous amount of Chinese citizens looking abroad for serious ailments such as cancer. China’s medical infrastructure is bogged down by a drastically slow approval process when it comes to drugs and treatment.
And, as the report points out, well-regarded physicians are at a premium in China. Those in need of care often look to nearby Japan or make the trek all the way to the United States for treatment. Bloomberg points to a figure supplied by travel website Ctrip.com that states half a million citizens left China in search of medical care in 2016.
Officials hoped to tweak Hainan’s focus to incorporate a heavy emphasis on medical tourism, thereby attracting what could presumably be millions of patients over the course of a few years.
However, there are major issues that could turn Hainan into what Bloomberg refers to as another Chinese Ghost Town—an area designed by officials for a specific purpose that goes grossly underutilized.
The massive project started back in 2013 and is getting a continued cash infusion. The report states there are currently 27 projects in the works totaling a commitment of $3.3 billion. The hospitals and clinics that are established and planned for the future are wide-ranging, offering everything from cancer treatment to plastic surgery.