Health & Fitness Medical & Dental

Helping expats lead healthier lives

French expat couple Julien Mathieu and Amelie Dionne-Charest are on a mission to make it easier to get reliable health information if you are living in Hong Kong. Here they tell us about the health-related venture they launched last year, Healthy Matters, which aims to provide families in Hong Kong with medical advice and information.

Tell us a bit about yourselves. What brought you two together, and what led you to Hong Kong?

Julien: I grew up in Aix en Provence in the south of France, and Amelie in Montreal, Canada. In 2003, we were both studying law in Montreal but met only once. Amelie then did an exchange in my hometown in 2004 but we missed each other.

A few years later, Amelie was in Paris and a friend matched us. The rest is history! Shortly after, I was offered a job in New York. We spent beautiful years there and our daughter was born there in 2012. After a while in NY, we started thinking about Asia. An interesting job opportunity in Hong Kong came my way and Amelie thought she could implement her business idea here too. With a baby, and having never been here before, we arrived in June 2013.

We currently live in Kowloon, close to Olympic Station and the water. Our children Lea and Adrien are five and almost two.

Image of the founders of Healthy Matters
Julien and Amalie with their children, Lea and Adrien

What areas were you working in before you started Healthy Matters?

Julien: I spent 14 years in banking, doing a range of things from evaluating projects in Africa and Latin America, to helping US entrepreneurs and building teams in Asia.

Amelie: I’m a lawyer by training, specialised in medical law. After a few years in a law firm I joined a health tech company. I then started my first business in NY, AD MediLink, to help people better understand their healthcare options.

How did you come to start the business?

Amelie: I transferred my AD MediLink venture to Hong Kong when we moved here in 2013, and I met hundreds of doctors and health experts, and visited dozens of clinics and hospitals. I also spoke to countless patients and families, learning about their health needs and questions in HK.

Meanwhile, Julien had always had entrepreneurship in his blood. In late 2016, I asked for his help on a work project. To our surprise, we both enjoyed it! Our baby was at home and we often looked for health information that’d be reliable and relevant to us in Hong Kong, for our kids or ourselves. We thought about doing something about it. After many discussions (and some wine), we took the plunge and decided to launch Healthy Matters.

What does Healthy Matters offer people in Hong Kong?

Julien: Our mission is to bring trusted health information to people and families here. Healthy Matters is a go-to health resource across three channels: online with (weekly articles and an updated directory) and a free newsletter; our annual events on Maternity & Baby (in October) and Kids Health & Parenting (in June); and the first comprehensive book for prospective, expecting and new parents in Hong Kong.

Amelie: We have an Expert Advisory Board with top doctors and experts, experienced in both the public and private sector in HK to bring relevant, unbiased health information.

Aside from running your business, what are some aspects of Hong Kong you love most?

Amelie: The efficiency, business acumen, strong family values … and dim sum, of course! We have dim sum every Sunday.

Julien: The mix of old and new, and local and international, the can-do attitude, the safety… and the beautiful nature so close to it all!

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This article first appeared in the April/May 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.