'Silver economy' offers great biz potential

2024-01-23 10:40:38China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Elderly women have Laba porridge at an eldercare center in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, on Jan 16, 2024. (WANG HUABIN/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China has seen new growth opportunities arising from its aging populace, and its latest decision to promote the "silver economy" will significantly address the needs of the graying demographic and inject new impetus into the economy, officials said on Monday.

"The development of the silver economy is a powerful measure to drive high-quality development. It involves a wide range of fields with a long industrial chain and diverse types of businesses, covering the primary, secondary and tertiary industries. It creates new business opportunities," said Zhang Shixin, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Zhang said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday that the new move to boost the silver economy aims to respond to the core concerns of the elderly and boost their sense of well-being.

Liu Ming, director of the NDRC's Department of Social Development, said silver economy-related economic activities offer products and services to seniors and have huge growth potential yet to be fully tapped, especially in fields meeting the growing demographic's diversified and personalized needs.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, recently released a guideline encouraging companies and industry participants in sectors such as accommodation, healthcare, tourism and financial consultancy to optimize services and products for the elderly.

Citing measures mapped out by the new document, Liu said it will help boost the development of related industries and better tap into the specific needs of the elderly.

With a population of 1.41 billion, the nation is facing an increasingly serious aging issue. As of the end of 2022, China had more than 280 million people aged above 60, roughly 20 percent of the total population, according to the country's annual statistical communique regarding 2022 national economic and social development.

He Yaqiong, head of the consumer products industry department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, highlighted the importance of closing the elderly digital divide, saying it will accelerate efforts to boost the development of the smart eldercare sector.

The focus will be placed on fields including the internet plus healthcare, smart nursing homes and intelligent communities, he said.

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