Senior care market draws young people

A growing number of young Chinese people are being drawn to the senior care industry, thanks to its clear development prospects and huge demand for talents.

Tan Meng is one of them. Born in 1999, Tan decided to enter the elderly care service industry many years ago. For Tan, the high employment rate, competitive payment and promising development prospects are just some of the reasons why this thriving sector has become so attractive.


According to data released recently by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, China’s elderly care service industry has high market value and development potential.

Xu Fen, who works as a volunteer at the Caihongwan welfare home for the elderly in Hongkou District, Shanghai, used to think that nursing home were filled with bedridden, sick and lonely elderly people.

To her surprise, the majority of elderly residents move around freely and have clear minds. In many cases, they are even more fashion-conscious than the young generation: some get manicures, learn to dance, draw, write, and exercise, and have busy schedules.

Shanghai No. 5 Middle School has collaborated with Caihongwan welfare home for the elderly in a voluntary activity, for which Luo Qing was one of the first volunteers. The welfare home signed a voluntary service agreement with them, taking into account their work, academic background and physical condition.

“A person’s life is very long. Sometimes, if you are too anxious to find the right person, you might as well improve yourself. The right person will appear eventually. There is no hurry to do this,” an old woman in the welfare home told Luo, which relieved his worries.

Luo added that spending more time with the elderly can help you forget about unhappy things, and spending time with them has brought unexpected benefits to the young volunteers.

China’s pet healthcare sees robust growth

With pet ownership on the rise in China, the market size of the country’s pet industry has grown exponentially along with the increased demand for veterinary care.


Chinese owners spent 122 billion yuan ($ 18.6 billion) on their pets in 2016, with a compound growth rate of 43.5 percent over the past six years. The figure is expected to exceed 240 billion yuan in 2020, according to statistics from the Research Report on the Development of China’s Pet Healthcare Industry.

With the continuous increase in the number of pets, the standard of pet diagnosis and treatment in China is also improving.

In terms of veterinary care, there are not only dentist, cardiopulmonary, dermatology, oncology, ophthalmology and other specialist clinics, but also high-end medical equipment normally used for humans, such as color ultrasound diagnostic set, CT equipment and even nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, which are usually only seen in tertiary class hospitals.

According to statistics presented in the Chinese Pet Industry White Paper in 2019, the total number of urban pets (cats and dogs) in China exceeded 99.2 million in 2019. In line with the growing number of pets is the rising number of pet hospitals.

Fu Ying, who has worked in Beijing for more than a decade, has opened a total of nine pet hospitals in Beijing, an average of two every year since 2015. The average investment cost of each of Fu’s pet hospitals, generally located in a residential community, is about 2 million yuan. Although they are not equipped with high-end inspection instruments such as nuclear magnetic resonance found in large hospitals, blood testers, ultrasound diagnostic sets, X-ray machines and other equipment are readily available.

According to the Research Report on the Development of China’s Pet Healthcare Industry, as of April 2019, there were more than 15,000 pet hospitals in China, of which non-chain hospitals accounted for nearly 90 percent, prompting the pet healthcare market to begin attracting investment.

For instance, in May 2018, Ruipai Pet Hospital announced that it had received 350 million yuan in strategic investment from investment institutions such as Goldman Sachs in the U.S.

China pushes multi-level elderly care

Since China entered an aging society at the end of the 20th century, the number of elderly people and their proportion in the total population of China have continued to grow.

From 2000 to 2019, the elderly population aged 60 and above increased from 126 million to 253.88 million, and the proportion of the elderly population in the total population increased from 10.2 percent to 18.1 percent.

China has the largest aging population in the world, and the problem of population aging will become more serious in the foreseeable future.

A worker at a nursing home helps a senior woman with finger disabilities receive rehabilitation training in Nantong, east China’s Jiangsu province. (Photo by Xu Congjun/People’s Daily Online)

Effectively responding to population aging will not only improve the quality of life and living standards of the elderly and safeguard their dignity and rights, but also promote economic development and social harmony.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the Chinese elderly choose to spend their later years at home and community-based elderly care centers.

How to ensure that these seniors can receive professional care services? Beijing has offered a solution with the model of its “fenceless” community-based nursing homes.

By introducing platforms such as professional elderly care institutions, housekeeping companies, shopping malls and supermarkets, and volunteer organizations, communities in Beijing provide elderly care services for seniors at their communities and homes, significantly improving their quality of life.

An 86-year-old woman surnamed Jiang is among the people who benefit from the elderly care model. Living in Yuetan neighborhood in the city’s Xicheng district, Jiang is hardly mobile and has difficulty feeding and bathing herself.

Home-based and community-based elderly care centers set up canteens to provide convenient services for senior residents at communities in Tongling, east China’s Anhui province. (Photo by Guo Shining/People’s Daily Online)

“Many thanks to the help of Ren Wuying, who I can rely on for any possible trouble,” Jiang said. Ren is a professional nursing worker of a nursing home at Jiang’s community.

Spending time together with Jiang when she was down in the dumps and taking care of her for a long time, Ren has forged a deep friendship with Jiang.

“She is always one call away even when she is having a meal,” Jiang said, adding that Ren is on intimate terms with her.

This is one of those “fenceless nursing homes” in Yuetan neighborhood. In 2019, nine nursing homes in Yuetan offered services such as day care, medical assistance, meal assistance, bath assistance, and recreational activities to over 160,000 person-times of seniors at 26 communities.

“It was a challenging task to meet residents’ demand for elderly care at some communities with a large aging population, few elderly care resources, and senior residents on relatively low income,” said Yu Rui, deputy director of Yuetan neighborhood citizen service center.

Now the problem can be easily solved by integrating home-based and community-based elderly care services and services of elderly care institutions, Yu noted.

In 2019, China had over 180 million elderly citizens suffering from chronic diseases, of whom 75 percent had more than one. Although the average life expectancy of Chinese people currently reached 77 years, people still suffer from a high prevalence of diseases and have to live with diseases.

Therefore, the integration of medical and elderly care is the answer to how to improve the living quality of senior citizens with diseases.

A 76-year-old woman surnamed Wu in Beijing understands the issue too well. “I suffer from prolonged illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases, and had a cerebral infarction,” she explained.

Six years ago, Wu moved to Dongli nursing home in the city’s Changping district. Beijing Longfu Hospital adjacent to the facility dispelled her worries about possible recurrence of her diseases, as the hospital cooperates with the nursing home. Therefore, it’s convenient for senior nursing home residents to see a doctor immediately and swipe their medical insurance cards to pay relevant fees.

Wu suddenly had a frog in her throat and was choked by water one month ago. After checking her medical history, doctors from the hospital immediately did magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scans for her and found that she had mild cerebral infarction.

Fortunately, her physical mobility was almost unimpaired thanks to early detection and treatment.

Workers at a day care center of a home-based elderly care nursing home carry out physical examinations for senior people in Dongxiang, east China’s Jiangxi province. (Photo by He Jianghua/People’s Daily Online)

“I didn’t want to sleep in the ward at night, so I came back to the nursing home,” Wu smiled, acclaiming the integration of medical and elderly care.

More and more seniors receive integrated elderly care and medical services at their own communities.

At Xiaocixuan elderly care center in Yuexiu district of Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province, Wen Xiaoni, a doctor from Baiyunjie community health service center, is seen carrying out a physical examination for a 94-year-old man Yu Shixiong.

“You have done a good job controlling your blood sugar levels,” Wen said and turned around to tell a nurse to reduce four units of insulin every day for Yu.

“The average age of seniors at our elderly care center reaches 87, and most of them suffer from chronic diseases,” said Li Min, deputy head of the Xiaocixuan elderly care center.

To enhance the integration of medical and elderly care, the nursing home has signed a service contract with the community health service center, and worked with nearby first-class hospitals at grade 3, the top level in China, including Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, so that seniors suddenly hit by a critical illness can be immediately transferred to these hospitals through a “green channel”, according to Li.

After several years of efforts, China has made positive progress in building an elderly care service system.

Zhao Chenxin, deputy secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said the country has continuously increased the investment in building the elderly care service system.

The NDRC has invested more than 12 billion yuan ($1.83 billion) from the central budget to support the building of the elderly care service system during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), Zhao added.

Going forward, China will continue to address inadequacies in elderly care services and enhance the quality of service from the perspectives of policy support, talent training and stronger regulations, so as to consolidate the policy system for the development of the elderly care industry.

In the long run, improving the multi-level elderly care system will boost the “silver economy.” He Xiaofeng, chairman of Dajia Insurance Group, believes that the building of a multi-level elderly care service system has great potential in meeting the demand for elderly care and creating jobs.

He added that vigorously developing elderly care services is not only an important measure to meet the basic living needs of people but also a significant means to support China’s domestic circulation.

Hanfu enthusiasts celebrate in SW China

Photo shows the Hanfu-themed parade held to celebrate the Hanfu cultural festival. (Photo/Courtesy of Hanfu cultural festival organizer)

More than one thousand enthusiasts of traditional Chinese culture and Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group, recently gathered in a Hanfu-themed parade to celebrate the Hanfu cultural festival in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province, reported on Nov. 22.

Four groups of young enthusiasts wearing Hanfu left from four different landmarks of Chengdu on Nov. 22, and arrived at Wenshufang folk culture street on the same afternoon. All the Hanfu enthusiasts, including some foreigners, then paraded down the street to celebrate the festival and show the beauty of Hanfu.

Photo shows the Hanfu-themed parade held to celebrate the Hanfu cultural festival. (Photo/Courtesy of Hanfu cultural festival organizer)

The lively event attracted many local citizens and visitors. One visitor surnamed Zhang took photos of the festival and said that such events are interesting and very helpful for promoting traditional Chinese culture.

Chinese citizens’ ideas about Hanfu have changed a lot in recent years, according to a Hanfu enthusiast who has taken part in the cultural festival activities for two consecutive years.

Photo shows the Hanfu-themed parade held to celebrate the Hanfu cultural festival. (Photo/Courtesy of Hanfu cultural festival organizer)

In the past, when people took the subway in Hanfu, others would look at them and think they were weird. Now, however, Hanfu has already become a part of many people’s lives, and more people are willing to learn more about the clothing and history, said the Hanfu enthusiast, adding that it was great fun to showcase the charm of Hanfu at such events.

Besides the Hanfu-themed parade, participants in the festival also enjoyed a lot of other activities to celebrate the occasion, with subjects that included ancient Chinese poetry, ancient Chinese music, modern music performed in traditional Chinese style, tea culture, traditional Chinese instruments, and modern drama.

A grand Hanfu show held at Wenshufang folk culture street on the evening of Nov. 22 brings people closer to the beauty of Hanfu clothing.

China trains high-quality farmers

An operator drives a rice harvester in Huichang, Jiangxi province. (ZHU HAIPENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Since the launch of the 13th Five-Year Plan, the education and training of farmers across the country has entered a new level. Presently, the total number of practical talents in rural areas is about 22.54 million, and there are more than 17 million high-quality farmers.

Data shows that since the launch of the 13th Five-Year Plan, China has trained a total of 5 million high-quality farmers, directly trained 110,000 leaders of practical talents in rural areas, and expanded the enrolment of agriculture-related higher vocational education for farmers for the first time by 35,000.

Farmer education and training is an important way of improving farmers’ quality and modern agricultural development capability.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs implemented a new type of professional farmer training project, a high-quality farmer cultivation plan, an action plan to improve the academic qualifications of high-quality farmers, and demonstration training for leaders of practical talents in rural areas and university student village officials. At the same time. the channels for farmers to receive education have been greatly expanded.

China still foreign investment top choice

China’s actual use of foreign capital continues to grow amid the COVID-19 epidemic and increasingly complex and challenging conditions both at home and abroad, and the country remains a top choice for foreign investors.

Pudong, Shanghai (Photo/Pudong Times)

In the first 10 months of the year,the actual use of foreign investment in China grew by 6.4 percent year-on-year to 800.7 billion yuan, or 3.9 percent to $115.1 billion in dollar terms, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Nov. 16.

The actual use of foreign investment in China expanded 18.3 percent year on year to 81.9 billion yuan in October. This marked the seventh consecutive month that the country has seen positive growth in FDI.

Such achievements are attributed to China’s determination and actions taken to further open up, and to the fact that China has taken the lead in effectively controlling the epidemic and ensuring enterprises can operate normally, said economist Song Qinghui.

Song noted that the vast Chinese market’s ability to offer more cooperation and development opportunities to international partners is another reason behind the country’s growth of foreign capital inflows.

On the same day, the construction of the Starbucks China Coffee Innovation Park officially began in the Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Kunshan city, east China’s Jiangsu province.

The global coffee chain announced the project, its largest manufacturing investment outside the U.S., in March this year, and committed $156 million to it at the groundbreaking ceremony.

According to the latest Global Investment Trends Monitor published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global FDI flows in the first half of 2020 plunged, with the biggest declines in Europe and the U.S., warning of a highly uncertain outlook.

However, FDI in China remained more resilient and stable, the report said. In the first half, flows to China reached $76 billion, a lower-than-expected decline of 4 percent.

The country’s recent recovery growth of FDI inflows can be attributed to an 84 percent rise in the value of M&A transactions, mostly in information services and e-commerce industries, and to government investment facilitation measures.

“Compared to other economies, China has taken the lead in epidemic control, work and production resumption, and economic recovery. The World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund also predicted that China would be the only economy in the world to show positive growth in this year,” said Jiang Han, a senior fellow at the Pangoal Institution, a Beijing-based think tank.

Against this background, it’s normal for China to witness growth in FDI, Jiang noted, adding that investing in China is a better choice for foreign firms.

Zong Changqing, director-general of MOFCOM’s department of foreign investment administration, said it proves that the attractiveness of China’s massive market to foreign investment has not changed, its comprehensive competitive advantages in industrial facilities, human resources, and infrastructure have not changed, and foreign investors’ long-term investment and business expectations and confidence in China have not changed.

The current stable and positive trend is expected to continue in the fourth quarter, and the goal of stabilizing foreign investment for the whole year will be achieved, Zong added.

22nd China Hi-Tech Fair closes

Photo shows visitors visit the booth of Huawei at the 22nd China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF). (Photo/official website of the CHTF)

The 22nd China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF) concluded in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, on Nov. 15.

During the five-day-long event, 9,018 high-tech projects were on display, among which 1,790 new products and 767 new technologies were introduced to the public for the first time.

A total of 760 investment institutions and nearly 400 scientific research institutes at home and abroad participated in the fair and carried out 356 project matching meetings.

Through the platform of the CHTF, more and more self-developed high-tech products of China have found new application scenarios and promoted industrial upgrading, entering workshops as well as the life of ordinary people.

In Exhibition Hall 5 of the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, venue for the fair, a high-tech product that looked like a big yellow fish was particularly eye-catching. It was an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that could dive into 4,500 meters below the sea surface for exploration.

As China’s first deep-sea scientific research AUV, the product has a body fully made out of metal and equipped with various advanced technical devices such as cameras and sensors, according to Guo Feng with the Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It could perform functions like micro-topography measurement, near-sea optical photography and water anomaly detection, and could meet the needs of fine exploration of deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold spring areas.

In the industrial robot zone of the advanced manufacturing technology exhibition at the fair, intelligent carrier robots independently developed and manufactured by Shenzhen Casun Intelligent Robot Co., Ltd., one of the Chinese leading manufacturers in mobile industrial robots, demonstrated their skills.

Petite and yet agile, the heavily laden vehicles could always deliver goods accurately to destinations no matter what obstacles they encountered.

These carrier robots may look alike, but they actually belong to different models and could be applied in different scenarios, said an employee of the company.

For example, one type of the company’s intelligent carrier robots could read QR code label affixed on the ground, obtain information about location and destination, and then realize positioning and navigation, the employee added, explaining that this type of carrier robots works 5 times more efficient than ordinary intelligent robots.

Based on a closed-loop system with the algorithm-chip-big data full chain, Shenzhen Intellifusion Technologies Co., Ltd. has established an offline scenario for future urban commerce.

In such a scenario, customers could tap a smart touch screen and scan a QR code to quickly find out the locations of places like bathrooms and garage elevators in a shopping mall. They could also grasp the real-time traffic data about the shops from the screen and avoid the crowds and long waiting lines.

New technologies and equipment such as AI, 5G, and big data have become the highlights of this year’s CHTF.

Such high-tech products representing wisdom and innovation have not only innovated the mode of production in factories and workshops, but created more application scenarios in the houses of ordinary people.

Scientific and technological products for fighting COVID-19 epidemic were among the featured exhibits of exhibitors from Guangdong province at this year’s CHTF, and an intelligent throat swab sampling robot displayed at the exhibition booth of the province drew the attention of many visitors.

Developed by the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, it could enter areas with high risk of infection such as the isolation wards and collect throat swab samples under the remote control of medical workers, completing tasks quickly and gently while avoiding cross-infection.

During the event, Chinese tech giant Huawei exhibited a smart government affairs system that allows decision-makers of a city to greatly improve work efficiency through modern means, as well as a 5G-based monitoring solution to water conservancy that could sense changes in water and upload key indicators to cloud platform in time.

Zheng Yelai, president of Huawei’s cloud business unit as well as chairman of Huawei Cloud Computing Technology Co., Ltd., said the company hopes to bring AI into more scenarios in the future and help with the construction of smart cities.

Post-90s main hair transplant consumers

More than 250 million people in China suffer from hair loss, with an average of one in six people losing their hair, according to data released by the National Health Commission. Among them is a large number of the post-90s generation.


Staying up late, drinking and frequent perming and dyeing are some of the reasons for hair loss among young people. For these post-90s people who suffer from hair loss, buying ginger shampoo, wearing wigs and hair transplants are all options for dealing with the problem.

The owner of a wig shop in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan province, said that the proportion of young consumers who come to his store has risen from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Unlike elderly wig buyers, young consumers are looking to enhance their image in order to find a potential partner or an ideal job. In terms of product selection, they are generally more inclined to products that provide more comfort and fidelity, such as wig pieces.

In addition to wig pieces, hair transplants have also become popular choices for the post-90s generation. Young people between the ages of 20 and 30 account for 57.4 percent of customers who go for hair transplants.

The market size of China’s hair transplant industry jumped from 5.7 billion yuan (about $870 million) to 16.3 billion yuan between 2016 and 2019, according to statistics. In 2020, the market size is likely to surpass 20 billion yuan.

Medical industry more digital in China

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has helped promote the digital revolution of the medical and health industry in China and even the world. AI, big data, robots, 3D printing, wearable devices and virtual reality have become interfaced with medical technology, bringing a new pattern to the entire industry.

Visitors watch a COVID-19 control and prevention platform using AI at an expo in Shenzhen. (Photo/Xinhua)

According to statistics, during the epidemic, the number of online diagnosis and treatment in hospitals under the National Health Commission has increased 17 times compared with the same period last year, and the number of diagnosis and treatment consultations on some third-party online service platforms increased by more than 20 times over the same period.

Some institutions predict that the size of China’s online medical market will reach 200 billion yuan ($30.4 billion) in 2020, a market growth rate of 46.7 percent, the highest growth rate since 2015.

“The epidemic has greatly changed the health care services model. Due to the inconvenience of offline medical treatment, the Internet has become the second battlefield for many hospitals and doctors to fight the epidemic.Internet health care is a major trend that we could not imagine in the past, but will continue to develop in the future,” said Dong Jiahong, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

With the continuous popularization and progress of new technology, the application scenarios of digital health are constantly being enriched, and its development space is constantly expanding.

30 provinces have established Internet-related medical service platforms, and there are more than 900 Internet hospitals across the country. The telemedicine collaboration network covers all prefecture-level cities, and more than 5,500 hospitals at or above the second level can provide online services, according to Mao Qunan, Director of the Planning, Development and Informatization Department of the National Health Commission.

“It is estimated that by the end of 2019, the number of digital medical users in China reached 620 million,” said Chen Baiping, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, noting that China has more than 1 million doctors who can consult online, and that there are more than 100 third-party medical platforms.

Chinese consumption goes greener

An employee pastes a poster advocating the “clean your plate” campaign at a restaurant in Tianshan district, Urumqi, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Sept. 16. (People’s Daily Online/Zhang Xiuke)

As China continues enhancing its environmental protection efforts, the Chinese people are enjoying greener ways of consumption.

“We trained our employees to guide the customers to order food in accordance with their actual appetite, and we also encourage the customers to wrap up the leftovers,” Zhou Yu, vice general manager of a restaurant in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality told Luo Xiaoju, an official with the commercial commission of Chongqing’s Jiangjin district, who was surveying the operation of local catering industry.

Zhou told Luo that the restaurant was about to offer dishes in smaller and half size, and the price would also be adjusted accordingly.

Yan Yunneng, who runs a restaurant in Jiangjin district, said at least a can of kitchen waste was generated per day, but now the volume is halved as most diners can finish all their food.

“We used to order as much as possible when we treat friends to meals to show our generosity, but now it’s the other way around as we must clear our plates,” said Gong Nanying who lives in Jiangjin district.

Apart from dining, the Chinese people are also buying greener vehicles.

When Zhou Enchao, a man from Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province, planned to buy a new car a year ago, his friend recommended him new energy vehicles (NEVs), saying NEVs are environmentally friendly and free from road restriction policies. This was appealing to Zhou, who always drives to work. “Sometimes my gas-fueled car was not allowed to go on the road due to the restriction, especially when I needed to drive to meet my clients,” he told People’s Daily.

Later, Zhou learned from a local car dealer that NEVs are free from vehicle purchase tax, which might save him at least over 10,000 yuan ($1,518). Besides, he could also enjoy a 12,000-yuan auto replacement subsidy. The government would offer an extra of 5,000 yuan if his car being replaced was produced locally in Zhengzhou.

The car dealer told Zhou that the energy consumption of NEVs was extremely low, compared to average small engine vehicles that generally cost half yuan per kilometer.

“We also offer free charging poles and installation, and this service saves you 6,000 yuan. The government also requires new residential complexes and malls to be equipped with certain amount of charging poles, so charging won’t be a problem when you go out dining or shopping,” the car dealer said. The batteries had lifetime guarantee, and the replacement was free, it added.

Seeing all the benefits, Zhou and his wife decided to buy an NEV. Now, the man is very satisfied with his new vehicle after 10 months of driving, saying it was a good deal as he enjoyed a large amount of subsidies, and the car was economical and environmentally friendly.

The green concept is now infiltrating into every part of Chinese consumers. When comparing jeans on an online shopping site, Ye Min, a woman who works for an internet company in Shanghai, resolutely selected a pair produced with environmentally friendly methods. The jeans’ production adopted a professional closed system able to recycle 98 percent of water, and the jeans were dried with recycled hot air. The sludge waste generated during the making of the denim cloth was also used to fabricate bricks.

Renewability and recycling are important for Ye when she selects commodities. “I have friends and colleagues that share the same mentality with me. Sixty percent of this blouse was made by regenerated cotton, and this bag was made out of four plastic bottles,” she told People’s Daily, pointing to the stuffs she carried made by environmentally friendly materials.

Environmental protection calls for efforts from everyone, and will change the lifestyles of generations. Only the change of habits and the ways of consumption can make environmental protection a red line that shall never be crossed, and thus enhance people’s awareness for green lifestyles.