London, UK, April 5, 2018 — Chinese tech and entertainment-oriented conglomerate Tencent Holdings is collaborating with the London-based health app developer Babylon Health, founded in 2013, to introduce medical chatbot AI capabilities into their solutions.
While the press release from Babylon Health does not go into detail about the target scenario, Financial Times writer Aliya Ram suggests that the technology will directly go into Tencent’s social messaging platform WeChat. No financial details on the deal have been disclosed.
How big is WeChat?
WeChat itself could be considered a hybrid of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter from a functional point of view. Even though they are primarily used only in China, with their 1 billion monthly active users they can be considered as one of the world’s most popular communication platforms. Facebook, on the other hand, has about 2 billion monthly active users worldwide. The standalone app by Babylon Health is used by 1.4 million users, all across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
What does Babylon Health do?
Babylon’s HealthTech AI chatbot allows users to get a quick medical diagnosis along with remediation tips based on the specified symptoms. The technology makes use of individual health records and other personal data along with the provided data that reflects their acute state of wellbeing. On demand, the app can also connect you (video chat) to a doctor. The overall service is similar to what the Ada app is offering, which we reviewed in November 2017.
Meng Zhang, General Manager of Tencent Medical, comments, “Tencent is committed to improve our users’ lives through the means of digitalization and technology.” and adds “We have identified Babylon as one of the leaders in this technology worldwide and aim to partner with them to put it into the hands of Chinese consumers. We look forward to the prospect of a highly successful and long-term partnership with Babylon”.
Founder and CEO of Babylon Health, Ali Parsa, further states, “Tencent is consistently striving to enhance the life of the people of China. In health, Tencent and Babylon share the same ethos about making healthcare accessible for all. This is a partnership for Babylon to work with one of the tech giants in China, to bring quality digital health service to Chinese people”.
YouTube: Babylon – How it works
Photo credit: Babylon Health
Source: Aliya Ram (Financial Times) / Rayna Hollander (Business Insider) / Josh Constine (TechCrunch) / Babylon Health press release
Editorial notice: The quotes have been provided as part of a public press release.