(Yicai Global) Nov. 23 -- Sinovation Ventures, a Chinese venture capital investor focused on artificial intelligence, has invested tens of millions of yuan in Square Dental, a company specialized in dental services for kids.
Square Dental will mainly use the funds for brand building and improving its operation systems, it said in a statement yesterday. It also plans to open up new clinics in Beijing, where its first was set up in June this year.
As Chinese citizens begin to earn more disposable income, they are paying more attention to their children's dental problems, said Square Dental Chief Executive Zhao Bing. Kid's dental services are the fastest-growing sub-sector of dentistry, which is fairly price insensitive, he added, meaning high prices are unlikely to put off consumers.
The average number of cavities for a 12-year old Chinese child in 2016 was 0.86, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission's oral health epidemiological investigation, published last fall. At that age, the World Health Organization considers 1.2 or fewer cavities to be low incidence. The United States falls right on that threshold.
Square Dental is a firm that is close to consumers, which is something familiar to Sinovation, added Mao Junlu, an investment director at the venture capital firm. It also fits the investor's main aim -- using big data to combine with then artificial intelligence technology it has accumulated, he added.
Vast amounts of structured data are a prerequisite for the success of an AI project, but that data is useless without applications, Sinovation partner Lang Chunhui once said in public. He believes that medicine is a sector that utilizes data and is worthy of investing as the basic data structure in China's medicine industry is still underdeveloped.
Editor: James Boynton