Purpose – Increasing globalisation of the healthcare sector suggests that there may be new competitive opportunities for emerging economies in this price‐sensitive sector. The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which emerging economies, and in particular the four major Asian competitors – Thailand, India, Malaysia and Singapore – can compete successfully in the medical tourism (MT) sector. Design/methodology/approach – The authors evaluate this sector in terms of Porter's Diamond of National Competitiveness, as well as considering the challenges that competitors must address. The primary challenges relate to attracting consumers, proving assurances of quality for a credence good, increasing scale while maintaining quality, addressing ethical issues and moving beyond simple price‐based competition. Findings – The authors conclude that the major Asian competitors in MT benefit from strong government support, rely heavily on overseas linkages and accreditation, and are competing in very similar ways. In the future, further differentiation is both likely and desirable. Originality/value – The paper offers a theoretically based analysis of the future competitiveness of the rapidly evolving MT industry in four key Asian economies. This industry appears to relate well to the comparative advantage of emerging economies and offers future opportunities for upgrading and value adding.
International Journal of Emerging Markets – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 27, 2011
Keywords: Thailand; India; Malaysia; Singapore; Emerging economies; Business development; Globalization; Health care; Medical tourism; Competitive strategy
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