Doris Yu, journalist

As the head of finance at Humansa, Catherine Yu plays a strategic role in guiding the company’s expansion across the dynamic healthcare and wellness landscape of the Greater Bay Area (GBA). Focusing on digital transformation and data-driven investment decisions, she helps steer Humansa’s growth.

‘We have a very lean finance team here at Humansa,’ Yu says. ‘As part of the New World Development family, we work closely with other business units across the New World ecosystem. With expansion plans underway through both organic and inorganic growth, our team is constantly working with cross functions to build new outlets, analyse potential acquisition targets, and build our expertise in mergers and acquisitions.’

‘We are always exploring ways to automate manual tasks and digitise our operations’

Efficiency, though, remains as important as growth in the company’s expansion. ‘We have to understand the capex while maintaining an asset-light approach,’ Yu says, adding that her team balances aggressive expansion with prudent cashflow management.

Process streamlining is another focus. ‘We are always exploring ways to automate manual tasks and digitise our operations,’ Yu says. ‘It’s all about making our staff’s life easier by boosting operational efficiency and facilitating record management.’


Head of finance, Humansa, Greater Bay Area

Head of finance, commercial operations, CSL Behring, Shanghai

Regional controller Asia Pacific, then China CFO, Herbalife, Hong Kong/Shanghai

Head of treasury, then regional controller Asia Pacific, BT Global Services, Hong Kong

Various finance management and audit roles at companies including Merck, First Shanghai Investment, King Chung Hop Kee Manufacturing, and PwC, all in Hong Kong


While Humansa is well established in its home market of Hong Kong, the potential for expansion across the wider GBA is clear. In June 2022, the company entered mainland China by acquiring pediatrics and gynaecology specialist Noah Healthcare. In 2023, it opened a private hospital with Distinct Healthcare in Guangzhou as a joint venture, and has formed a strategic partnership with ophthalmology-focused Visionly. In the two years to October 2023, its customer base nearly doubled, from 43,000 to 80,000, and the number of its health and wellness centres shot up from four to 38.

While the pandemic brought economic headwinds for healthcare funding and IPOs, Humansa used the time to identify good acquisition targets. ‘Many companies struggled with margins in mainland China under the tough climate,’ Yu says. ‘Especially for private hospitals, it’s difficult to run successful businesses. But that’s where we can provide lifelines through acquisition. Some may question these investments during the pandemic, assuming the economy was getting worse, but we saw it as a chance to demonstrate how important healthcare is.’

‘We analyse strategic fits and make sure our passions align’

She adds that thorough preparation has been key to growth. ‘Our management team left no stone unturned, carefully examining around 100 potential investment targets on the ground. We analyse strategic fits and make sure our passions align with the founder or the management of the target company.’

The aim is to ensure any investments are synergistic, offer growth potential, promote sustainability, and are customer-centric. Finding the right platform to transfer knowledge between Hong Kong and mainland China is also crucial. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, and a successful model in the Hong Kong market may need adjustments for another in mainland China, Yu says.

Beyond numbers

For Yu, the biggest challenge – and opportunity – that finance professionals face is cultivating strong business acumen. She says: ‘During your career, no matter how diligent you are or how tough your situation may be, you have to continue learning about the business. You need to look forward, both to understand the past and to help lead the company by identifying opportunities and gaining insights and prospects. Only by doing so can you provide the management team with the information needed to make sound decisions.’

In her own role, collaboration is also paramount. ‘In the first few years after graduating from university, my work was narrowly focused on accounting – I only handled the financial aspects and then my work was done. But as your career progresses, the work becomes very different.’

‘The finance team has the potential to generate tremendous business value’

She explains: ‘As the finance department acts as a hub that has access to most of the company’s critical information, there is an opportunity to gather all business matrices, customer behaviour data, and external economics information and more, to provide business insights and predictive analytics through a business intelligence system. Embracing this change presents an opportunity rather than a challenge. If we rise to meet this opportunity and effectively manage the increased responsibilities, the finance team has the potential to generate tremendous business value.’

Finance’s key role is why its involvement is essential when a company plans for digital transformation, Yu says, as without appropriate internal controls, systems can face operational issues as well as security and financial risks. ‘The finance department should be involved from the get-go when designing digitalisation strategies to help mitigate potential problems and ensure a successful investment.’

It is certainly true at Humansa, which, as a customer-facing service, has to manage numerous digital channels. For example, it accepts the AlipayHK mobile wallet to facilitate transactions between customers in Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as other apps such as WeChat Pay and Xiaohongshu.

‘Experiences become assets that equip you for the next level’


As the healthcare and wellness subsidiary of Hong Kong property giant New World Development, Humansa sets out to be a trusted lifelong partner for healthy lifestyle consumers and their families. It has a network of around 40 health and wellness centres throughout the Greater Bay Area, offering health checks, medical imaging, endoscopy, dentistry, eye care, postnatal care, skin, physiotherapy, high-performance training and more to 80,000+ customers.

Continuous learning

With the business world constantly evolving as disruptive forces reshape industries and new technologies emerge, Yu says that continuous learning is a career key. ‘This is important to me as a working mom – to demonstrate to the next generation that continuous learning is valuable, both for my children and for the company’s employees. During the learning process, you can acquire many new skills, network with different people and gain new perspectives that can open your eyes to new visions. These experiences become assets that equip you for the next level.’

So how did Yu end up in the healthcare and wellness industry with her own career? She says she wanted to contribute to helping people lead fuller and longer lives. ‘When you enjoy better health, you will feel happier. You will have the power to pursue your goals and dreams.’