China’s State Council studies measures to develop ‘silver economy’

China’s State Council, the cabinet, on Friday studied policy measures to develop the “silver economy,” or the elderly care industry, which is widely expected to account for one-third of China’s economy by 2050 given the country’s ageing population.

An executive meeting of the State Council noted that developing the silver economy is a crucial measure to actively respond to the aging population and promote high-quality development, and is beneficial both in the short term and in the long run, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The meeting noted the need to fulfill the government’s responsibility of ensuring basic needs and to safeguard the bottom line, strengthen basic livelihood protection for the elderly, and increase the supply of basic public services. It also called for giving the market full play to better meet the multi-level and diverse needs of the elderly, and to jointly promote the development and growth of the silver economy.

The meeting noted that relevant policy measures should be continuously improved to tackle urgent problems such as home care and healthcare for the elderly.

China has been stepping up efforts to develop the silver economy in recent years in an effort to handle the aging population, which has become a hot topic in global headlines.

In February 2022, the State Council issued a plan for the development of the country’s elderly care services system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), which included major goals in various aspects, including expanding the supply of elderly care services and improving the health support mechanism for the elderly.

In May, China released a guideline to build a basic elderly care system by 2025, offering coverage for the entire elderly population, according to Xinhua.

China’s elderly population aged 60 and above reached more than 280 million by the end of 2022, accounting for 19.8 percent of the total population, and by 2050, the elderly could account for one-third of China’s total population, according to a report in the Economic Daily newspaper.

With the rising elderly population also comes vast potential for the “silver economy.” According to the Economic Daily report, the elderly care market could account for one-fifth of China’s GDP by 2030 and one-third of China’s total GDP by 2050.

A previous report from Fudan University in Shanghai said that the “silver economy” could reach 1.9 trillion yuan by 2035, accounting for 9.6 percent of China’s total GDP.

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