Wanted: Foreign investors for China's elderly services sector

China's government is canvassing for foreign investment in the country's elderly care industry to meet the needs of its greying population. -- PHOTO: AFP
China's government is canvassing for foreign investment in the country's elderly care industry to meet the needs of its greying population. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - China's government is canvassing for foreign investment in the country's elderly care industry to meet the needs of its greying population.

The official website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) on Tuesday published a circular to encourage foreign investment in China's elderly care services.

Foreign investors can set up for-profit senior care institutes independently or in cooperation with Chinese enterprises, said the circular, jointly issued by MCA and the Ministry of Commerce.

Foreign investors are also welcome to take part in the reform of state-run elderly care organisations, and to develop high-quality chain institutes, it added.

Foreign investors will enjoy the same favorable tax policies and administration fee deduction policies as domestic investors, the circular said. Potential investors should submit application material to provincial-level organs in charge of commercial affairs, it said.

By the end of 2013, 202 million Chinese were aged 60 or above, accounting for 15 percent of the population. The figure is expected to exceed 300 million by 2025.

However, the country has only some 6 million medical personnel, making it difficult to satisfy the medical needs of seniors, said Tian Lanning, deputy secretary-general of China Association of Social Welfare.

By the end of 2013, there were about 42,500 organisations providing essential services and products for seniors, with only 4.93 million beds.

A report on the senior care industry published by China Research Centre on Ageing in September estimated that the Chinese elderly services and product market was worth 4 trillion yuan, or 8 percent of China's GDP. The report said the figure will climb to 33 percent of GDP by 2050.