20th September 2018
China’s Disability Aids Industry: High Demand Creates New Opportunities
China’s elderly population currently amounts to over 240 million. Further, 85 million people in the country live with disabilities and 20 million are users of temporary disability aids.
This growing and substantial population of senior citizens and persons with disabilities has resulted in an increasing demand for rehabilitation products and services.
It makes the disability aids industry one among China’s fastest growing sectors, catering to potentially the largest domestic market in the world.
With China’s new plan to facilitate the industry’s development to service the growing internal demand, we look at how foreign firms can benefit from investing in the country’s disability aids industry.
Profiling China’s emerging disability aids industry
Disability aids refer to products and services that improve, compensate, and replace certain human functions. It includes a wide range of products such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, and assistive devices and services such as rehabilitation and elderly care.
China started paying attention to the country’s needs for disability aids in the 1990s, when the government included the industry in its national five-year plan for the first time. Five-year plans charter the major economic goals that will be pursued by the government within that period.
In its 11th five year plan, for the period 2006 to 2010, China aimed to extend access to disability aids to its rural regions where 70 percent of its people with disability live. Falling within this period was the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which accelerated the use and development of disability aids in China. Official statistics show that the number of accessibility-related projects carried out in Beijing reached 14,000 between 2001 and 2008.
The country’s disability aids industry was valued at 430 billion yuan (US$63 billion) in 2015, including 330 billion yuan (US$48 billion) in goods and 100 billion yuan (US$15 billion) in services. According to the deputy director from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the industry’s annual growth rate averaged at 15 percent in recent years. The State Council aims for its market value to surpass 700 billion yuan (US$102 billion) by 2020.