April 16, 2019 / 10:37 AM / 4 days ago

China aims to boost funding support for elderly care sector

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government said on Tuesday it would push for more financing support for the elderly care sector to help accelerate the development of a fledging industry and ensure that the needs of an aging population are met.

China’s elderly care infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with a fast graying population, expected to hit 400 million by 2035, prompting Beijing to expedite reforms and draw up policies to speed up development of the sector.

“The vitality of the elderly care sector has not been adequately stimulated. Development has been unbalanced and inadequate, while supply is insufficient and quality of service remains low,” the State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement.

Obstacles to development of the sector must be removed, it said.

The government will cut fund-raising costs for elderly care institutions, and encourage others to raise capital through public listings and bond issues, the council said.

The government would also allow more insurance funds to invest in elderly care projects, and encourage financial institutions to extend affordable loans to elderly-care service providers, it said.

Banks, trusts and other financial institutions will be supported to help them develop financial products that can meet the long-term needs of the elderly, the council added.

That will include greater access to bank loans for the elderly and more pension-targeted mutual funds to help people invest for retirement.

Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo

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