Allergan's Wang sees bright future for medical aesthetics in China

Medical aesthetics and eye care giant Allergan this month launched the US$14.7 million Allergan Innovation Center in Chengdu, the first of its kind in the world.

Medical aesthetics and eye care giant Allergan this month launched the US$14.7 million Allergan Innovation Center in Chengdu, the first of its kind in the world.

White Wang became vice president of Allergan and president of Allergan China last year after working at a number of multinational medical technology companies. He holds an EMBA from China Europe International School and a bachelor’s degree in bio-engineering pharmacy from Nanjing University.

Shanghai Daily talked to Wang about the Chinese business prospects of the pharmaceutical company with a specialized focus on medical aesthetics and how the industry will involve in the coming years.

Q: What is the role of the Allergan Innovation Center and why did you set up the training center in Chengdu?

A: We've seen a major shortfall in the supply of highly trained and well-qualified medical aesthetics professionals, and the gap is growing.

We're committed to improving the diagnostic and therapeutic skills of medical aesthetics professionals through the Allergan Medical Institute and will continue to offer high quality talent to the industry.

As the country's first professional training base for medical aesthetics professionals, the Allergan Innovation Center will offer more than 110 training courses in 2019 in plastic surgery and customized diagnosis and treatment technology for about 3,400 doctors nationwide.

The Chengdu municipal government is fully committed to building an international gateway city and international capital of the medical aesthetics industry by strengthening all aspects of the supply chain, including logistics infrastructure, talent cultivation and consumer education.

It also has a geographical advantage as a hub city on, and a key link in, the supply chain of biological medicines. In the future, Allergan will send more shipments from Europe to China through Chengdu and actively promote the city as a hub in the global biomedical supply chain.

Q: How do you see the medical aesthetics industry in developing over the next few years?  

A: Currently, the supply of high quality medical aesthetics professionals is lagging behind the booming demand in the country. But many unqualified practitioners and institutions will be gradually eliminated with rising consumer awareness in the coming years. It will ultimately be a booming market after the transformation.

It’s a sector expected to enjoy an estimated growth of more than 20 percent annually in the coming years, which is very exciting. We want to work with product manufacturers, service providers, distributors and industry associations as well as government agencies to strive towards a bright future.

We believe the setting up of the training center and customer education will eventually benefit the industry as a whole, although it may not bring immediate benefits in the short term.

Q: How do you choose partnership in China?

A: We're working with Alibaba’s healthcare service affiliate AliHealth to provide medical aesthetics education for consumers to help them choose the right hospitals, physicians and approved products, as well as the consultation platform, and we're also seeking other partners in the digital field as the fast-changing market requires the company to formulate a responsive strategy to better connect with younger consumer groups through online channels.

We are very cautious when we work with partners because we put the consumer at the center. We have a vigorous standard for choosing legitimate and qualified partners and will not sacrifice our quality in the face of fast growth.

In China as many as 90 percent of consumers of medical aesthetics services or products are aged below 36, while the majority of consumers in overseas markets are over 40, and there's also a lack of trustworthy information through online channels. We want to bridge the information gap between consumers and service providers and will be embracing new digital trends. 

Q: What's your talent strategy and how do you manage challenges?

A: We want our employees to have rich medical knowledge and a deep understanding of the regulatory environment. We also want them to embrace the fast-changing market and understand consumer mindset and digital trends.

Because the medical aesthetics industry is evolving fast, we need a deep understanding of the market and to formulate strategies at a fast pace. And different talent needs to work together and deliver synergies.

We also need to make sure medical practitioners have a deep understanding of the latest products and technology so they can bring the most suitable products to consumers.

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