WebMD deal means the doctor is in... WeChat
Chinese consumers will soon be able to access WebMD’s health content after it signed a content-licensing deal with Tencent -- meaning close to one billion people will be able to search what their aches and pain might mean.
The deal will cover articles, videos and slideshows and will focus on illnesses that are more relevant to Chinese people, according to the Wall Street Journal.
One of those is lung cancer, which has seen a sharp increase in cases over the past 10-15 years.
For WebMD the move makes sense: The Chinese pharmaceutical market is already the second largest in the world and is projected to be worth $1.6 trillion by 2020.
But for Tencent’s part, it’s an interesting choice of partner -- largely because of WebMD’s somewhat dubious reputation in the West.
A 2015 study from the British Medical Journal found the chances of getting the right diagnosis from WebMD or similar sites was largely “hit or miss”.
There are also concerns over its ties to pharmaceutical companies, who pay for ads to appear on the site. As the New York Times recently put it: “WebMD has become permeated with pseudomedicine and subtle misinformation.”
The content is expected to be rolled out by the end of the year.