Dalian Wanda to invest $10 bln in China healthcare hub

SHANGHAI, April 10 (Reuters) - Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd

will invest 70 billion yuan ($10 billion) in a health park in

China's southwest, the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters

on Monday, as some of the country's biggest companies look to

tap demand for private healthcare.

Wanda, headed by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, said it

had signed an agreement with the Chengdu city government to

create a 'park' with two international general hospitals, eight

small specialized hospitals and 30 healthcare-related firms.

The investment comes as China's public hospitals are facing

tough demands from a fast-ageing population and tightening

budgets as the government looks to reduce state hospitals'

reliance on drug sales. This is creating space for private

firms.

Wanda - whose business includes property development,

shopping malls, cinema chains and theme parks - has been

spending heavily on parks around China related to sports,

leisure and health, to capitalise on growing middle class

demand.

Rival conglomerate Fosun International Ltd is also

increasing its focus on healthcare and has announced various

healthcare-related deals over the past year.

China's private hospital market has been a lure for local

and foreign hospital operators, though changeable regulations

regarding foreign investment in the sector, a dearth of doctors

and nascent private insurance schemes have slowed growth.

($1 = 6.9034 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Christopher Cushing)