May 30, 2020

Himedi rides on ‘medical Hallyu’

PUBLISHED : October 17, 2019 - 14:57

UPDATED : October 17, 2019 - 15:15

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Korean cultural wave, often called Hallyu, continues to gain popularity worldwide, and is now spreading into the medical sector, according to Himedi, a startup that offers medical concierge services for patients from the Middle East in South Korea.

In a report released Oct. 17, the medical concierge startup analyzed data of its Middle Eastern customers who visited Seoul from January to September.

Saudi Arabian singer Aseel Omran and Saudi influencer Lojain Omran. (Himedi)

The combined number of days its customers stayed here stood at 470,000 while the number of vehicles mobilized for them came in at 23,000.

On average, 5,200 accommodation units a month were booked and the number reached 6,780 in August, a usual high season in a year. Some 100 vehicles per day were dispatched to serve the customers, the report noted.

“No single mobility company can handle the entire number of Himedi customers in Seoul, so we are working with two or three companies to meet the high demand,” said Seo Dohn-kyo, co-CEO of the Seoul-based startup.

From transportation to accommodation, the company offers a range of services for patients who come to Korea to treat serious illnesses, such as cancer and leukemia.

Since the patients come here with their family members or relatives, they prefer a van for 11 passengers over smaller types like a sedan , according to the report. A two-bedroom accommodation is the most popular, and an average of 4.2 people stay in Korea together -- 12, consisting of two adults and 10 kids, was the largest single group.

Himedi customers stay here for a month on average while one patient has been under medical treatment for 1,278 days.

Other data also showed the Korean medical market is seeing a growing number of foreign patients.

In 2018, the total number of foreigners who came here for medical services increased by 16.7 percent to 464,452, according to a report released by the office of lawmaker Nahm In-soon.

Of them, some 20 percent were here for internal medicine treatment while those for dermatology and cosmetic surgery took up 13.7 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.

By Kim Young-won (

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