Report: Senior-living investment needed

Updated: 2016-02-25 08:23

By Luo Wangshu(China Daily)

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The graying of China's population is heating up the senior-living market, but many projects are targeting the rich rather than the middle class, according to a new report.

Wang Shenyuan, director of the China Research Center on Aging, which released the report on Wednesday along with Tsinghua University's School of Architecture, said the "gray" population will rise to 371 million by 2030 and to 483 million by the middle of the century.

At that time, one out of three Chinese will be over the age of 60, he said, and the country needs to be ready with living facilities that can accommodate them.

But most current projects are targeting high-end clients, the report said.

"When real estate companies started to run the senior-living projects, they aimed at building 'the best' or the 'prototype' programs," said Yang Yanmin, a professor at the architecture school. "They started at the high-end and are gradually moving to cater to the middle class.

"High-end programs are more profitable than the others, which is also the reason that companies target that end of the market. Government should support programs targeting the middle class first. When those programs are operated on a considerable scale, they may become more affordable," Yang said.

According to Wang, the center's director, many local governments have increased investment to establish senior living facilities and sample programs. "Private capital is also very passionate about investing in senior-friendly real estate programs," he said.

By the end of 2014, the number of people in China over the age of 60 had reached 212 million, accounting for 15.5 percent of the population.

The country's leading real estate companies, including Poly Group and China Vanke, have launched programs for seniors. The number of insurance companies investing in senior-living programs has also increased rapidly. By June, nine insurance companies had invested or planned to invest in 25 senior community projects, featuring 33,000 beds, the report showed.

However, few projects meet the market's needs due to problems in design, engineering construction and operational administration, the report said.

Report: Senior-living investment needed

(China Daily 02/25/2016 page5)