Merck, Tencent enter strategic collaboration on intelligent digital health services in China

The collaboration will primarily focus on increasing public disease awareness and providing more accessible healthcare services via digital platforms in China.
By Dean Koh
12:18 am

From left to right: (Ying Tang, Vice President, Head of Business Operation, Healthcare, Merck China; Rogier Janssens, Managing Director and General Manager, Biopharma, Merck China; Chris Round, Executive Vice President, Head of International Operation & Global Core Franchise, Healthcare, Merck; Meng Zhang, Vice President, Tencent Medical; Jordan Liu, Strategy and Business Development Director, Tencent Medical)​. Photo credit: Merck

Yesterday, Merck, a German multinational pharmaceutical, chemical and life sciences company, and Tencent, a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate, signed a strategic collaboration agreement. The collaboration will primarily focus on increasing public disease awareness and providing more accessible healthcare services via digital platforms in China.

“In this collaboration with Tencent, we will jointly explore the innovative combination of patient-centric healthcare management and digital platforms, which brings us one step closer to reaching our mission of transforming the lives of 40 million patients in China by 2025,” said Rogier Janssens, Managing Director and General Manager of Merck’s Biopharma Business in China. “The Healthcare Business of Merck in China is committed to developing a multi-dimensional intelligent medical ecosystem together with more cross-industry partners for the benefit of patients.”

“Tencent launched a major strategic upgrade in 2018. While we continue to stay committed to Consumer-Based Internet, we are also actively embracing Industrial Internet with the healthcare field being an important focus.” Zhang Meng, Vice President of Tencent Medical said, “We want to build on advanced internet platforms and artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing capabilities, and work with partners to make healthcare in China more convenient and efficient for all patients.”

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With the agreement, Merck and Tencent will create intelligent digital healthcare services, thereby increasing public knowledge of diseases and improving patients’ understanding of disease symptoms and effective treatment options. The collaboration will also provide patients with more convenient and smarter medical services, helping to better manage chronic diseases.

The focus areas will include all treatment areas of Merck’s Healthcare business in China: in allergies, Merck and Tencent will explore digital services that increase the awareness of allergy symptoms and encourage adherence to treatment plans; in the area of infertility, the collaboration will work to enhance awareness of disease and treatment options and help patients who are in need of fertility resources to shorten the process of medical treatment. The two companies will also focus on diabetes, thyroid disorders and cardiovascular diseases, as well as oncology such as metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

In the future, Merck and Tencent will continue to extend the scope of collaboration to other areas such as exploring the use of innovative medical service models based on “A.I. doctors” to provide more comprehensive disease awareness education and treatment services for mCRC and other diseases.

WebMD, an American online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health, well-being and drugs, teamed up with Tencent in July 2018 to introduce the health information platform to Asia. This means that WebMD’s services will be translated into Chinese and localised to suit the Chinese population. Through Tencent’s digital platform, users in China will also gain access to WebMD’s WeChat and QQ Browser.


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