China steps up efforts to broaden elderly care market

The potential of China’s elderly care market, worth an astonishing 10 trillion yuan, is expected to be unlocked as 2018 sees a growing number of relevant policies being put into place.

More concrete measures will be taken in 2019 to encourage the banking and financial sectors to get involved in the market, Economic Information Daily reported on Wednesday.

By the end of 2017, the number of seniors in China over the age of 60 surpassed 241 million, accounting for 17.3 percent of the country’s total population, according to statistics released by the China National Committee on Aging.

More data from CIConsulting shows that 84 percent of the current market needs have not yet been met. Despite this, the market is estimated to exceed 11 trillion RMB by 2020.

Aiming to tap market resources fully, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs listed the reform of streamlining the administration of elderly care institutions and public-private partnership (PPP) projects as one of its ten priorities on Feb. 1, 2018.

On July 18, the Standing Committee of the State Council decided to streamline approval for elderly care institutions, aiding future development. The move intends to mobilize private funds and reduce the costs associated with joining the sector.

Driven by national supporting policies, businesses from banking and financial sectors have geared up to seize their share of the market.

Three pension target funds under Yinhua Fund Management Co., Ltd., Fullgoal Fund, and Wanjia Asset were established on Dec. 14, attracting over 200,000 active subscribers worth a total of 1.3 billion RMB.

Mr. Fu, who used to be a company executive, explained that he can receive preferential price services of many health care and daily care institutions under the current home-based pension. He also gets priority to move into a care home if he needs to in the future.

“The market capacity will expand as more experienced players, such as government-owned enterprises and foreign enterprises, with high-level management skills, join in,” said Guan Bo from Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.

Despite the thriving market, discussions still need to take place regarding its profitability and sustainable development.

Qin Jing, head of investment and research department of Hejun elderly care research center, believes that social capital and foreign investment will be the principal directions to follow.