Ivey Publishing
So-Young: Innovating the Business Model in China
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12 pages (8 pages of text)
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Case (Field)
On May 2, 2019, So-Young International Inc. (So-Young) became the first Chinese Internet-based company in the cosmetic surgery sector to be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. With effective use of the Internet and mobile devices, So-Young provided a one-stop resource that allowed consumers to access information about cosmetic treatments, search for and purchase cosmetic surgery services, and benefit from peer and professional support during recovery. With its service, So-Young had positively transformed a fast-growing Chinese cosmetic surgery market that was lacking transparency and trustworthy information.

The company had used a process of enterprise business model innovation to build its brand image, expand its audience, and engage the cosmetic surgery industry value chain. While the process had been successful, So-Young faced competitive and internal challenges that it needed to overcome to maintain its leadership position and grow future prospects.
Learning Objective:
This case study, intended for courses in strategy and marketing at the senior undergraduate-, graduate-, or executive-level, analyzes the market environment, development process, and business model of a company offering an innovative service. Students are asked to apply proven analytical tools and use the business model canvas to understand the antecedents and mechanism of business model innovation. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
  • Analyze how So-Young responded to the market’s environment on both the micro and macro levels.
  • Assess the innovation of So-Young’s business model.
  • Explain the uniqueness and advantages of So-Young’s strategic business model.
  • Analyze how So-Young can expand along the value chain to adjust its business model and address new challenges.
General Management/Strategy,  Entrepreneurship
Health Care Services
China, Medium, 2019
Intended Audience:
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$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Digital Download
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