China to bolster silver economy amid population aging

China has pledged to provide more products and services to senior citizens and further develop the silver economy.

China has pledged to provide more products and services to senior citizens and further develop the silver economy in response to challenges presented by an aging population that is still expanding.

Addressing the challenges while improving elderly people's well-being is a hot topic widely discussed by national lawmakers and political advisers attending this year's "two sessions."

Li Xinhua, a national political adviser from Taiyuan City, north China's Shanxi Province, said senior citizens' aspirations and demands for a higher quality of life have increased.

"Developing the silver economy conforms to this trend and will help satisfy demand for multi-level and diversified products and services," Li said.

With the population aged 60 and above exceeding 290 million, China is working to tackle the population aging while improving the livelihood of the elderly.

Better products, services

The silver economy promises new development opportunities as it relates to many sectors with a long industrial chain and diversified business mode, according to Luo Yunfeng, mayor of Hefei City, east China's Anhui Province, and a deputy to the National People's Congress , China's national legislature.

China's silver economy is estimated at around 7 trillion yuan (US$974 billion) in size and is expected to reach 30 trillion yuan by 2035. However, the elderly care products and services currently available on the market are not practical enough for senior citizens.

NPC deputy Hu Xiaoqing, also a chief physician from east China's Jiangxi Province, said the market currently fails to effectively meet the needs of the elderly consumers for products that are not only more affordable but also safer and easier to use, calling for efforts to guide enterprises in developing quality elderly care products.

A report submitted by the National Development and Reform Commission to the national legislature proposed a robust expansion of the silver economy, aiming to cultivate more brands, guide the sector with higher standards and foster more industrial clusters.

Age-friendly facilities

Luo highlighted an emerging trend of new-generation information technology becoming increasingly integrated with elderly care products.

He called for efforts to promote the integrated application of mobile terminals, wearable equipment, service robots and other intelligent devices in elderly care scenarios at home, communities and institutions.

In the past couple of years, China has increased its investment in age-friendly transformation and renovation.

Leading mobile payment apps in the country have upgraded their services to cater to elderly people. More than 96 percent of bank branches across the country have made progress in age-friendly adaptation.

Jiangxi plans to revamp home facilities for more than 60,000 households in the province by 2025 to make life more convenient for the financially disadvantaged elderly people.

National political adviser Jin Li, also vice president of Shenzhen-based Southern University of Science and Technology, advised the country to employ more policy-oriented financial tools and weigh them toward community- and home-based elderly care services.

At the same time, the country can increase its financial support for emerging industries, such as intelligent elderly care, integrated medical and elderly care, and sojourn elderly care, he added.

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