- May 1, 2011: Vol. 3, Number 5

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Senior Citizens on the Rise: There Is a Growing Opportunity to Serve China

by Michel Brekelmans and Helen Chen

China’s rapidly growing elderly population, increasing healthcare standards and increasing wealth of its households provide business opportunities for elderly services from the private sector. In this article we explore the commercial opportunities emanating from these trends. Is China ready to adopt Western-style elderly care services? What are the business models that will be successful?


China has been witnessing a rapidly aging society since 1999 and is one of the earliest nations among developing countries to face such a social challenge. By the end of 2009, the number of seniors over age 60 reached 167 million, representing one-fifth of the total senior population in the world. In some urban areas of medium to large Chinese cities, the percentage of senior citizens among the total population has already exceeded 20 percent. The main drivers of the graying population are the longevity of Chinese people (with average

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