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Korean Plastic Surgery Tech Piques Chinese Interest

Posted July. 01, 2010 12:47,   


“This is a place for culturing stem cells for self-fat transplant,” said Korean plastic surgeon Lee Eun-jeong.

“In what type of surgery is this kind of stem cell used?” asked a representative from a plastic surgery hospital in China.

“This is used mainly for plastic surgery on the forehead or facial structure. Effectiveness is maximized if combined with PRP, an extraction from one’s own blood,” Lee said.

“Aha, this is interesting,” the hospital representative said, nodding.

This was the scene at Lee Jeong Natural Beauty Plastic Surgery Clinic in Seoul’s Changcheon district Wednesday. More than 30 Chinese were present and kept asking a flurry of questions while touring the facility and taking photos.

The Chinese were from a plastic surgery hospital in Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province. They visited Seoul to study Korea’s cosmetic surgery industry as part of a Sichuan economic delegation.

The delegation comprised more than 160 economic and business leaders in China, including those from electronics and logistics, seeking cooperation and exchanges with Korean industries. The Chinese cosmetic industry was the most represented with more than 50 members, illustrating China’s keen interest in Korea’s cosmetic surgery technology.

Lee Yeong-jun, chief of the KOTRA (Korea Investment-Trade Promotion Agency) Business Center in Chengdu, said, “Many Chinese are interested in Korean cosmetic surgery technology due to the influence of Korean dramas.”

“For this reason, many Chinese cosmetic clinics hang signboards reading ‘joint venture with Korea’ and ‘Korean medical doctors in residence.’”

Chengdu is also building Asia’s largest “international medical complex” with keen interest in Korea’s plastic surgery industry. The complex is being built with an investment of six trillion won (five billion U.S. dollars) and covers 31.5 square kilometers.

The goal is for the complex to woo high income earners in China and foreigners seeking medical tourism by attracting international hospital management agencies, renowned professional hospitals, and medical experts.

The Chinese head of the forthcoming Chengdu International Medical Complex said, “Korea’s cosmetic surgery technology is famous worldwide and cosmetic surgery technology in and of itself has become a (Korean) brand,” adding, “Through this visit, we want to open cooperation with Korea’s leading medical facilities in cosmetic surgery and talented doctors.”

The Chinese plastic surgery market is second only to that of the U.S. in the world and witnessing robust growth of about 20 percent per year. The number of people who will undergo plastic surgery in China this year alone will likely reach four million.

Because the level of China’s cosmetic technology is not competitive, however, experts say Korean companies can grab a major piece of the market.

In addition, more than 200 experts from the Chinese cosmetic surgery sector attended an academic conference on Korean plastic surgery in Qingdao in late May.

The Chinese medical representatives who went on the tour Wednesday also sought to benchmark medical equipment and the interior designs of hospitals in Seoul using their camcorders and cameras.

Plastic surgeon Lee, who chairs the Seoul Medical Tourism Association, said, “Foreign markets including China are lucrative enough for the Korean medical industry to advance and succeed in,” adding, “Korea needs to build infrastructure at the government level to provide Chinese clients with quality medical services at appropriate prices.”

Oh Sung-keun, executive general manager for business information at KOTRA, said, “Many ordinary Chinese are still unaware of the excellent level of Korea’s cosmetic surgery technology,” adding, “We will step up our promotional campaigns not only in major cities but also in inland regions of China.”