updated 28 May 2012, 00:25
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Mon, May 28, 2012
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Taiwan looks to China for nip-and-tuck boom

TAIPEI: Affluent Chinese these days are eager to fit some nips and tucks into trips to Taiwan, where they get better medical staff and facilities than at home.

Industry watchers expect Taiwan, having promoted medical tourism for two years, to hold its own against competitors that include Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Simple procedures like tooth whitening, wrinkle-fighting Botox injections and surgery to remove bags under the eyes or create double eyelids are popular.

“The demand from China is much higher than what we’d expected,” said Mr Chen Chunting, secretary-general of the Kaohsiung Aesthetic Medical Tourism Promotion Association.

In 2008, 5,000 visitors came to Taiwan for health check-ups and cosmetic surgery, creating an industry worth up to US$50 million (S$70 million).

Taiwan’s Health Department expects the medical-tourism market to grow by 20 per cent annually, but private-sector forecasts are even higher, with one group of 30 hospitals expecting business to more than double to US$95 million.

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