China to open elderly care market, encourage private capital
An elderly Chinese woman rests in a wheelchair at the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing, June 5, 2015.[Photo/IC]
China plans to fully open the elderly care market and put more private capital into the sector, Economic Information Daily reported.
The central leading team for comprehensively deepening reform headed by President Xi Jinping approved the Several Opinions on Opening up the Elderly Care Market and Improving Senior Care Services at Tuesday's meeting.
The team suggested lowering the market access threshold and encouraging more private capital into the sector.
The group also proposed to reform State-run elderly care institutions and improve elderly care services in community and rural areas to make sure more elderly people enjoy quality senior care services.
Under international standards, a country or region is considered an "aging society" when the number of people aged 60 or above reaches 10 percent or more. China has had over 10 percent of people aged 60 since 1999.
Official data showed that at the end of 2015, China had 222 million people aged 60 years or above, accounting for 16.1 percent of its total population. The number of people aged over 65 years totaled 143 million, representing about 10.5 percent of the total population.
Experts said improving elderly care services and actively tackling the aging population issue was "a pressing task" for China to build a moderately prosperous society.
China has established a senior service network incorporating home, community and institution-based care. With fully opening the senior care market, elderly people's diversified service needs should be satisfied further.
While the aging population poses tremendous challenges for the government, it also means huge business opportunities for related industries.
According to a report published by the China National Committee on Aging, Chinese people will spend about 5 trillion yuan on elderly care by 2050.