We have been tracking news related to the liberalization of the elderly-care market in Guangdong for some time. Now, the provincial government has issued some guidelines that look promising for investors, although the emphasis is clearly on non-profit organizations first.
Various models have been evaluated for what the provincial government calls “senior care services,”, with a particular focus on the development of a wide range of retirement and medical insurance products. At present, nine institutions, including China Life Insurance and Taikang Life Insurance, have invested in 39 retirement community projects to further explore the “insurance plus old-age care” model.
Now the province says it is ready to learn from foreign insurance companies based in Hong Kong and Macau, “to develop customized products to meet the multiple needs of the elderly in the Greater Bay Area.”
This would involve exploring ways to ramp up “cross-border product innovation” – just as long as it’s “within the perimeter of law, regulation and policy” to better develop retirement communities in the region.
Foreign investors would be encouraged to set up elderly-care facilities, and non-profit institutions will enjoy the same preferential policies as domestic investors in this regard. The government will do its part by providing existing buildable land to construct facilities: municipal and county-level natural resources authorities have been told to provide “full convenience and assistance” in the process of land acquisition.
The government doesn’t want Guangdong’s elderly living in drab buildings, of course. This is why it is supporting the rejuvenation of old towns, factories and villages.
Cross-border products and services will be needed. Insurers will be encouraged to create innovative medical insurance products and provide more convenient underwriting, inspection and claims services for cross-border customers.
As China’s population ages, the market is heating up. By the end of 2017, China had over 240 million people above the age of 60. According to data provided by iMedia Research, the country’s elderly-care service industry was valued at RMB6.57 trillion last year, and will grow to RMB10.29 trillion within the next three years.
The industry includes a wide range of facilities and services. Special care homes, stay-at-home care, and retirement communities offer services encompassing medical attention, nursing care, healthcare, and social-focused entertainment.
Insurance giant Taikang has been a market leader, having already invested RMB20.3 billion in more than 10 senior care communities. It was the first institution to be given the go-ahead in 2009 by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to invest in elderly-care services. In 2012, Taikang launched the first scheme combining insurance with medical care and retirement community services.
Guangzhou’s Yue Yuan is Taikang’s first retirement community in southern China. The community, opened in 2017, can house 1,200 residents. Half has already been occupied. Taikang has also built a rehabilitation hospital in the community, providing professional care services.
To learn more about China’s senior care service industry, check out these upcoming conferences:
2019 China Health and Pension Industry Innovative and Development Forum @ September 13, 2pm-5pm, Guangzhou
Organized by Guangdong Credit Association and iMedia Research, the forum will explore the current status of China’s old age care industry in the context of an internet age. An industry white paper will also be released. Find out more.
Where: Guangdong Hotel, 309 Dongfeng Middle Road, Guangzhou
China International Silver Industry Expo @ October 31-November 2, Guangzhou
The expo will bring together the latest products, technology and solutions for the senior care industry from Netherland, Australia, Japan, US, Germany, France, UK, Denmark, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Find out more.
Where: PWTC Expo, Guangzhou