HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, China

Foreign investments to boom as China's elderly population skyrockets

Elderly population is set to hit 400 million in 2035.

China is a smart choice for healthcare companies which seek to expand their operations overseas.

Estimates from BMI Research show that the country's elderly population, defined as those aged 60 years and over, is expected to grow from its current level of around 230 million to over 400 million by the end of 2035.

Meanwhile, the population aged 80 and over is set to grow at an even higher rate, more than doubling from around 27 million in 2018 to 58 million in 2035.

"This rapid rise in the pensionable population will present pharmaceutical and healthcare companies with significant business expansion and revenue-earning opportunities, especially as the government tries to expand access to healthcare services. This in turn will bolster the attractiveness of the Chinese healthcare market," BMI Research noted.

In recent years, China has opened its healthcare sector to foreign investors, with several Australian providers involved in developing aged-care facilities and training medical staff and technicians.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement permits wholly Australian-owned hospitals and aged-care institutions to be established in China and potentially opens the way for Australia's private health and aged-care sectors to significantly expand their provision of services in East Asia.

Still, even with the rapid development in recent years, the aged care industry in China is still in its infancy. There is a significant shortage of aged care facilities and the support services industry is just emerging.

"As such, large-scale investment in the development of aged care facilities by both public and private sectors will occur over the coming years as the Chinese government embarks on its national health strategy with the goal of achieving healthy ageing," the report said. 

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