Most people are aware of China’s one child-policy, which they began to formally phase out in 2015. Because of this policy, that ran for 36 years, China’s population demographics have been skewed.
What this means is that there is a much higher ratio of older people to younger people. Right now, it’s about one in ten – which is about 128 million older Chinese people.
And by 2050 China’s dependency ratio for retirees, that is the difference between those who are 65 and older and those who are capable of working full-time, could rise as high as 44%.
In 2015, this dependency ratio was only at 14%.
According to the United Nations, China is ageing faster than almost any other country. It will take China just 20 years for the proportion of the elderly population to double from 10% to 20%. In comparison, Germany took 61 years and Sweden approximately 64 years to double their elderly population.
Traditionally, Chinese elders would live with their children. But family structures have evolved with more and more people moving out or moving to different cities for work, leaving their parents on their own.
Even for those who do live with their elderly parents, the working hours make it challenging as they find they do not have enough time to care for them.
This means that there is a growing generation of elderly people who do not have family nearby or capable of caring for their needs.
One nationwide survey found that about 23% of China’s seniors live by themselves. Another survey conducted in Beijing found that less than 50% of elderly women live with their children.
As this demographic grows, there are not enough places that offer care for the elderly. One report found that Beijing’s 289 pension houses could accommodate 9 924 people, which is only 0.6 percent of the population above age 60.
So what will China do to help the growing elderly populations?
China Looking to the Australian model of care
With an increasing and ageing population, it’s no wonder that aged care is a booming industry in Australia. And now it appears that China also wish to follow the Australian model of aged care.
Last week Sapphire International signed a joint venture agreement with Sungin, marking their entry into the China market to provide aged care based on Australian standards.
Together, the two companies will develop a high-end aged care centre in Beijing which is to include Sapphire’s “model of care” including quality standards, policies and procedures.
Alex Gong, CEO of Fosun Property and Chairman of Sungin, emphasised that with their advantages in “big health”, their strategy is to build an international health care system.
By partnering with Sapphire, Gong plans to develop their first residential aged care home; the “Fragrant Hill project”.
The Fragrant Hill Project will be Sungin’s first high end aged care facility located in Beijing, with Sapphire Care providing and overseeing the operations.
The project is located in the historical royal recreation area in Beijing, which has a balance of culture and nature resources. The entire project of 8600 sqm includes with 4 floors and 92 beds.
Should the project achieve the quality services catering to this high-end aged care flagship in Beijing, there will then be future plans to expand into Tianjing and Heibei regions and possibly the rest of China.
Sungin also plans to build a full force of healthcare products including community based care service, retirement and assisted living as well as residential aged care, and rehabilitative services Big Health ecosystem to promote healthy living for all ages.