Chinese families ties might be about to tighten – and not necessarily by familial choice.
In January, a proposal from the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council stipulated that adult children should be required by law to visit their parents on a regular basis. And if they didn’t turn up, their parents should be allowed to sue them.
Whatever happened to the much-vaunted Confucian value system?
The plan – an attempt to force families to take on more responsibility for looking after their elders – may look a little unreasonable. But local governments are struggling to cope with the question of how to take care of the country’s greying millions.
China is already home to 167 million people over 60, more than the total population of France and Germany. That number is increasing quickly, as life expectancy extends. In Shanghai, for example, 20% of the city’s registered population is already above the age of 60.
Vanke, China’s largest listed property developer, sees an opportunity, and announced recently that it is planning to move into the retirement home business. According to National Business Daily, the company’s first retirement home units will be unveiled in Beijing’s Fangshan District next year. The development will also feature medical centres and educational facilities for OAPs.
“We believe the retirement-age population has much stronger purchasing power than young people, and our target customers should be above the age of 60,” says Mao Daqing, Vanke’s vice president.
Property developers Poly Real Estate and CRC have also expressed interest in opening retirement homes. US operators of housing for senior citizens also want in. The Wall Street Journal reports that many are looking to establish joint-venture platforms with local property developers. In turn, the US companies will offer their expertise in managing the senior housing programmes.
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