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China to open elderly care service market

Updated: Dec 23,2016 11:42 AM

China will further reform the elderly care service industry, introducing private capital and innovating services to benefit the large population of elderly people in the country.

The latest State Council circular called it a “sunrise industry”, and put forward a target of opening the market by 2020.

The circular urged lowering the entry threshold by simplifying registration procedures for elderly care institutions and encouraging foreign investment, and putting in place a market pricing mechanism.

Local governments should step up efforts to help transform public elderly service institutions into private enterprises. By 2020, nursing home beds in government-owned institutions should take up less than half of the total, according to the circular.

It emphasized building a credit system in the sector to share credit information and carry out supervision of personnel and clients.

To improve elderly people’s living conditions, the circular urged offering comprehensive services ranging from food supply to at-home medical services, along with infrastructure construction, such as barrier-free reconstruction in communities and rural areas.

Psychological services are highlighted for the group in rural areas.

Through promoting the application of internet and big data, and wide use of smart appliances, “Internet Plus” will be a major measure to help innovate the sector.

The circular also encouraged elderly care institutions to operate as medical and health institutions. Eligible centers will be included in the basic medical insurance system, according to the circular.