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The competitive challenge of emerging markets: the case of medical tourism

Peter Enderwick (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Swati Nagar (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 27 September 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Citation

Enderwick, P. and Nagar, S. (2011), "The competitive challenge of emerging markets: the case of medical tourism", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 329-350. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468801111170347

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited