Bumrungrad's Global Services Marketing Strategy

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG091
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1980-2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Bumrungrad Hospital Public Company Limited
Industry : Healthcare Industry
Countries : Thailand

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction Contd...

This award is a wonderful capstone to the efforts of our management and employees."4 Believed to be Southeast Asia's largest privately managed hospital, the 554-bed Bumrungrad Hospital treats both Thai nationals and foreign patients. The hospital is becoming increasingly popular with foreign patients. In 2002, out of the 850,000 patients treated in Bumrungrad, there were 250,000 foreign patients, coming from over 130 countries across the world.

Since the mid-1990s, Bumrungrad has come a long way to emerge as a leading healthcare brand in the world. In 1997, when Thailand was hit by the Southeast Asian currency crisis5, Bumrungrad was among the several healthcare companies in Thailand that were severely affected. A vast majority of Thai patients moved away from private hospitals to government-run ones. However, Bumrungrad perceived this adverse situation as an opportunity for growth and followed an aggressive marketing strategy that targeted foreign patients to the hospital. Though Bumrungrad has been largely successful through its focus on foreign patients since mid-1997, the hospital faces a few important challenges in early 2004.

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Bumrungrad faces fierce competition from leading hospitals in Thailand and other neighboring countries like Singapore and India, which are targeting the same clients by offering similar world-class healthcare facilities. Bumrungrad, therefore, has to discover new ways and means to differentiate its healthcare services from those of its competitors.

Background Note

Established in September 1980, Bumrungrad6 was initially a 200-bed facility. The initial investment for setting up the hospital was Thai Baht7 90 mn.

The hospital was jointly owned by Bangkok Bank and the Sophonpanich family, one of Thailand's leading business families.

In 1989, ungrad went public and its shares were listed on the Thai Stock Exchange. Over the next decade, Bumrungrad adopted several innovative practices to emerge as the best privately managed hospital in Thailand.

The significant increase in the number of domestic patients in its care over the years led to many fold increase in its revenues. In January 1997, Bumrungrad shifted to its new facility located at the centre of Bangkok. Constructed at an estimated cost of $110 mn ($60 mn raised through offshore loans), the 12-floor building had 554 beds and 21 operation theatres...

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4] "Bumrungrad Named Best Small Cap Company," www.bumrungrad.com, February 12, 2004.

5] The Southeast Asian financial crisis started in early July 1997, when international currency speculators as well as many Thai nationals began selling the Baht to buy US dollars, causing a flight of capital out of the country. As a result, capital became scarce and interest rates on borrowed money rose sharply, leading to the Baht losing about 20% of its value. Then the Thailand stock and real markets collapsed, pushing the country into its worst recession as production decreased, unemployment rose sharply and businesses failed and went bankrupt. The crisis spread quickly to other countries in the Southeast Asian region like Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and China, significantly damaging the economic health of the region.

6] In local Thai language, Bumrungrad meant 'caring for people.'

7] Currency of Thailand. As on March 19, 2004, 1 US$ = 39.42 Thai baht.


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