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Schermafdruk 2018 03 13 11.08.50The silver economy created by China’s rapidly ageing population will be more about offering affordable technology, rather than luxury nursing homes, to help the country’s seniors stay at home as long they can.With 15 percent of the population already over 60 years and that portion expected to double by 2050, China is facing the same demographic pressures as much richer European countries and Japan.In a bid to reverse the trend of shrinking working-age population, China last year decided to allow couples to have two children instead of just one, but this will make an impact on demographic trends in decades to come, if at all.The mere lack of hands in elderly care, traditionally the children’s duty towards parents in China, means there is a growing demand for technological solutions, providing business opportunities for domestic and foreign firms alike.“Rather than just copying what has been done in other countries, China needs to take a different way with the number of old people that they have and the development they're going through right now,” says Florian Kohlbacher, an expert in ageing and business and associate professor with the International Business School Suzhou at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.“They have the opportunity to become the innovation hub of the world; they could try new systems,” he says.Old people have different personal situations when it comes to health and finances, making them a very heterogeneous market segment in any country.In China’s the so called silver economy has so far been limited to big cities like Beijing and Shanghai with enough well-off people to support high-end services and products like luxury retirement communities.But while the majority of old people in China live in the countryside and are relatively poor, having retired from planned economy, the market is expected to change as younger generations reach retirement age, which for women now is 55 years and for men 60 years. “We can only anticipate that the silver economy will have the real . . . . . . read more

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