China counts today 131 million of people over 65. The elderly population is expected to reach 409 million by 2035, which would represent the 28,5% of the entire citizenry. This is one of the results brought by the “one child policy” over last decades: nevertheless the government is actively looking after elderly’s healthcare, also by encouraging them to follow Western medecine practices. This measure doesn’t pertain only to pharmaceutical companies though.
Chinese consumers are demanding more personalised and higher quality healthcare services; moreover, the medical equipment’s providers are closely tied with domestic demand, resulting in a double channels of possible insertion in the receptive Chinese health’s and wellness’s market: indeed, accordingly to a 2014 report released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it was expected to increase by $70bn by 2020. And because of a general disillusionment spreading among Chinese consumers for internal products, foreign companies appear to be more privilegied, even if to get attention and trust shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Why is happening that? There are many factors that can be accounted for: the “one child policy” could represent a partial answer but the issue is much more complex.
Life’s expectancy has increased, as well as the probability of contracting a chronic disease (e.g. diabetes) during old age. This new condition meets unfortunately a shortage in resources, where available equipment is not efficiently organized to optimize time management for treatment priorities. This certainly has contributed to activate a change of mentality where health and prevention have become central: to acquire healthy food and healthy products has an extreme value for Chinese citiziens. The attention for improving their lifestyle in many ways is strictly reconnected to Western influence, towards which they are addressed by medical doctors who reinforce consequently this inclination.
That wouldn’t be possible without a general improvement of life’s quality, which has empowered the rising middle-class. A better economical condition implies more resources to be spent for higher quality products that one can be proud of and an authentic enthusiasm for innovative, personalised solutions.
The Chinese government underlines that there is a lack of 13 million basic caregivers, due to the failure of their previous training program. Meanwhile, middle-class families are accepting the idea of relying on nursing homes: as said before, this social group is more sensitive to health awareness and it is more ready to pay for professional services and improvements.
Particularly, this willingness is related to seniors’ children, who are most of the time active professionals with their own life to manage; they look for more specialized care services, at home – where their beloved ones mostly live – or at hospitalization level: this fact suggests that the pro capite expenditure on elder care is going to rise quickly in the next few years.
All these changes within the medical sector are offering good opportunities for foreing companies to start productive collaborations with independent and assisted living facilities in need – which are going to reinforce their presence on the territory – and with families too.