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China capable of meeting rising elderly-care demand: official

(Xinhua)    09:14, October 09, 2019

BEIJING, Oct. 8 -- China is capable of dealing with an aging population by providing more affordable and high-quality elderly-care services and products, an official said Tuesday.

As the outcome of economic and social advancement, population aging is an irreversible trend and a crucial issue facing many countries, said Ou Xiaoli, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission.

By the end of 2018, people aged 60 or above exceeded 249 million in China, accounting for 17.9 percent of the national population.

Official estimates show the number is expected to peak at 487 million around 2050, or over a third of the total population.

Though an aging population threatens labor force supply and economic growth potential, China remains confident in addressing the issue thanks to its sound economic fundamentals and human capital advantages, Ou said.

China has taken a slew of measures to boost its senior care industry including a special action plan in 2019 to provide inclusive elderly-care services for senior citizens in cities at all income levels.

The plan is aimed at offering convenient, accessible and affordable elderly-care services through providing enterprises with more policy and financial support as Chinese enterprises' motivation of investing in this sector remains low due to high costs, long recovery cycles and low profits, said Ou.

In the action plan, the central government grants subsidies to related elderly-care projects while local governments provide elderly-care enterprises with policy incentives in the fields of land, finance, fiscal and tax and human capital.

Some 64 cities have participated in the plan, which has received 1.4 billion yuan (about 198 million U.S. dollars) of central budgetary investment and offered 70,000 new beds for senior citizens.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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