CEO and Chairperson, Starbucks China
With a solid background in artificial intelligence, Liao Jieyuan, wanted to see how machine learning could advance China’s healthcare sector.
In 2010, he formed Guahao, an online service to help patients book consultation appointments. Five years later, the platform was renamed WeDoctor, and is now one of China’s leading online healthcare solutions providers.
The WeDoctor proposition is simple: to use the internet, big data, and AI technologies to help relieve some of the huge bottlenecks that exist in China’s trillion-dollar healthcare market, while at the same time making quality healthcare more accessible.
Liao’s technical background has been crucial to WeDoctor’s development. He was a pioneer in China’s intelligent speech recognition industry and owns a number of patents in the area. Liao was also the director of the Chinese government’s 863 Program, an initiative to stimulate the development of advanced technologies in the country.
WeDoctor’s road to success is not without challenges. The healthcare app market is highly competitive, with big players such as Ping An Good Doctor, backed by one of China’s biggest insurers, and Alibaba Health.
To help raise capital for expansion, WeDoctor is finally expected to debut on the Hong Kong exchange by the end of this year, with the aim of raising between $700 million and $900 million.