Living in Guangzhou: An Expat's Guide

Living in Guangzhou: An Expat's Guide

Are you relocating to Guangzhou? Are you anxious about what may lie ahead for you and your family, especially concerning healthcare? Expatmedicare examines all that Guangzhou has to offer, in regards to healthcare, so that you know what to expect before you arrive and know how to best take care of yourself and your family.

With its close proximity to Hong Kong, Guangzhou, in China's southern Guangdong province, was one of the cities that first speared China to its economic development. It ranks with Shanghai and Beijing as one of the country's tier 1 cities, and with that ranking comes more modern conveniences for expats living in the city of 12 million. Some of those conveniences include modern healthcare hospitals and clinics.

Whether you're arriving on a full expat package that offers top-of-the-line insurance or moving to Guangzhou on your own without international health insurance, it's important to know your options for medical facilities. The city offers a variety of facilities, from high-cost international hospitals and clinics to local and reliable ones. Depending on your illness or injury, expats living in Guangzhou should be able to find the care they're looking for, but it might come at a high price.

International hospitals

For those who are a bit pickier with their healthcare facilities, you don't have to travel across the water to Hong Kong to receive adequate and comprehensive care. Guangzhou does have an assortment of reputable international hospitals and clinics. These places typically charge more for their services and registration can reach up to 800 RMB, so if you do not have international medical insurance that will cover care or treatment at a high-cost international facility, it can really set you back financially. Despite the hefty fees, the doctors are most often foreign trained and the care is often much more personal and pleasant than at a local hospital.

One of the premiere international hospitals in China, United Family Hospitals, has a branch in Guangzhou. Guangzhou United Hospital offers family, maternity, pediatric and internal medicine. Unlike their Shanghai and Beijing sister hospitals, the branch in Guangzhou is only open Monday to Saturday and from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.  As the first international hospital in China with Beijing United, you can be confident that the care you receive is top notch, but be aware of the hospital's high costs.

Another option is Clifford Hospital, which integrates Western,Traditional Chinese and alternative medicine. The hospital is accredited by the JCI, which the WHO recognizes as an authoritative organization on healthcare accreditation, and has some 600 beds for inpatient treatment. It touts itself as being a leading healthcare provider with international 5-star hotel- like accommodations. They offer a variety of services, including internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics and maternity.

The Guangzhou CanAm International Medical Center, a Western medical center that meets international standards, has many specialties and provides a variety of medical services, including Family Medicine, Women's Health Services, Child Health Services, Psychological Counseling, Minor Outpatient Surgery and a Dental Clinic. The center also has established relationships with hospitals and clinics in Hong Kong and can arrange for patients to be transported to the island should they require medical attention outside of the mainland.

Local hospitals

If you do not have insurance or cannot afford the pricey services found at an international hospital or clinic, there are some local hospitals that are known for their higher standards of care. These places usually have low registration fees, starting at about 5 RMB, and services are pay-as-you-go. While you probably won't be spending as much money, the services at these hospitals usually come with long wait times, and it can be tedious to go through the procedures of paying before each visit or service that you need. But for those on a budget, seeking care at a local facility can be a good alternative. You might want to bring along a translator in case the doctors do not speak English.

Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital (or GDPPH) has been open since the 1940s and has more than 2,000 beds. There are five institutes focusing on cardiovascular disease, gerontology, mental health, lunch cancer and ophthalmology. The hospital has strong capacity in medical treatment, teaching and research, and it is furnished with modern equipment.

The Guangzhou Red Cross Hospital is another local option that is used among some expats in the area. This hospital has 1,000 beds and also offers a wide range of comprehensive services, including a plastic surgery department. Other specialized departments include department of cardiovascular medicine, digestive system, skin and neurology.

Guangzhou Second People's Hospital was established by the Presbyterians before the turn of the 20th century and continues to be one of the better local options. They have a staff of 1,200 people and about 650 beds. The hospital boasts modern equipment and many services.

Medical insurance in China

Your employer, whether they're an international company or local one, will vary on what they offer in terms of health insurance coverage or reimbursement. It's critical to have a clear understanding of what exactly your company offers in terms of medical and, if you have health insurance, what your insurance policy covers. If your company does not provide international medical insurance, it's still advisable to purchase insurance on your own to make sure you're medical needs are covered, especially in case of an emergency.

List of hospitals and clinics in Guangzhou

Global Doctor Guangzhou Clinic
Address: Room 401-403 (3A), Morgan Business Center, North Tower, Fuli Yingli Mansion, 3 Hua Qiang Road, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel: +86 20-38841410, 20-38841452 (24h), 13500014119(Emergency)

- No pediatrics
- Monday to Saturday : 9:00am-12:00am; 1:00pm-6:00pm


New Omega Medical Center - Canadian Immigration Medical Examination Centre
Address: 9/F, Center Plaza, East Railway Station, Guangzhou, China 510620
Tel: +86 020-28861900

- Pediatrics is available. (need appointment)
- Monday to Saturday : 8:30am-5:00pm


Guangzhou Can Am International Medical Center
Address: 5/F Garden Tower, Garden Hotel, 368 Huanshi East Road, Guangzhou 510064
Tel: +86 020-83866988

- Pediatrics is available.
- Full day


Eur Am International Medical Center
Address: 1/F North Tower, Ocean Pearl Building, 19 Hua Li Lu, Zhu Jiang New City, Guangzhou, China 510445

Tel: +86 020-37585328, 020-37591168, 24-Hour emergency hotline: 13710413347

- Monday-Sunday: 8:30am-6:00pm (Need Appointment)

Clifford Hospital, VIP center
Address: Shi Guang Road, Pan Yu District, Guangzhou 511495
Tel: +86 020-84518222-82000 (24h VIP Nurse), 020-84518999 (24h Emergency Center)

- Pediatrics is available.
- Monday-Sunday: Outpatient time: 8:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-5:30pm, Emergency Center: 24 hours


Guangdong General Hospital, Concord Medical Center
Address: 9th Floor, Dr. Y.T. Fok Heart Center, 96 Dong Chuan Road, Guangzhou 510100
Tel: +86 020-83874283 , 020-83874293-8933/8968

- Pediatrics is available.
- Monday-Sunday: 8:00am-11:30am, 2:30pm-5:30pm



Also See:

Health Care Beijing