Care Show China, one of China’s most influential senior care industry conferences, created enthusiasm among the approximately 70 guest speakers, 50 exhibitors, and 2000 professional visitors from 20 countries, who gathered at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center from August 25th to August 28th. Care Show China Conference & Expo’s 3rd annual event was informative and well attended.
Care Show China and China Aid are the two most influential professional conferences in senior care industry in China. Care Show China is organized annually by UBM, a company that provides a trade platform through conferences. These events help integrate “international concepts and local operational experience” and build an “international B2B platform for China senior care industry.” This two-day conference brought together representatives and experts from various areas, including government agents, long-term care providers, investors, consulting firms, and consumer product companies. This summit offered a glimpse of the current senior care industry in China from multiple perspectives such as design and planning, workforce management, and IT solutions.
Among those leading the opening ceremony were Margaret Ma (Managing Director of UBM China), Xieshu Zhang (Chairman of Shanghai Social Welfare Association), Shiming Lv (Vice President of China Federation of Disabled Person), Clive Allcorn (Assistant Director of British Consulate General Shanghai), and Chen Xiaodong (Mayor of the People’s Government of Rugo Municipality). After addressing the economic challenges faced by seniors living in rural regions, Qingchun Yan (China National Committee of Aging) urged private-sector investment in senior care. The Chinese government encourages these ventures.
Weiguo Zong (Deputy General Manager of Zhejiang Vanke Dignified Life Senior Center Management) classified the senior care industry in China into three stages. “Now the senior care industry in China is still in its Bronze Era (2010-2020), which is characterized by descendants’ orientation and the demand for medical treatment and nursing. It will mature in the Silver Era (2020-2030) and reach Golden Era after 2030, which will be marked as a combination of luxury assets and personalized services,” stated Zong. Vanke, the primary sponsor of Care Show China, is the largest residential developer in China. Recently, Vanke has developed its first senior paradise living community, which includes Charmwood Apartments, a nursing home, a training school, and neighborhood care. This series of senior paradise products incorporates healthcare and nursing, along with social bonds created within the community to develop a more socially supported senior living community.
Victor Yuan, (Chairman of Horizon Research Consultancy Group and CEO of FEIMALV) classified business in this industry into two types—venture and professional. Venture businesses generally control a large amount of capital and land, and develop rapidly within a conventional Chinese model. Professional businesses require expertise and specialization, and develop at a slower pace. According to Yuan, “We are expecting the emergence of a third type which builds on these two types.” Mr. Yuan holds an MPA degree from Harvard Kennedy School and runs FEIMALV, the first organization in China, which provides professional management support for the start-ups.
On August 27th, the conference continued on two tracks (Track A and Track B). Track A focused on Business Model and Design & Planning. For instance, PRP Architects LLP from UK, Shiga Design from Japan, Independent Management Group from Australia, and Greentown Yile Education Investment Management in China presented their designs of senior communities. Workforce management and the scarcity of professional caregivers were commonly addressed in these demonstrations.
Track B focused on Operation Management/Smart Technology. It began with an innovation competition, which was initiated by Senior Service Informatics Development Committee of China Association of Social Welfare, Shanghai Technology Elderly Service Center, and local media in April 2014. The innovation ranged from medical devices (such as acupuncture) to training sessions. The training sessions were run by a group of senior citizens with an average age of 72. These volunteers provided training sessions to seniors on health and biology related topics, such as depression. This project received the highest score. During the competition, 10 out of 18 pieces were selected by 40 senior consumers and experts to enter the final competition in this coming October. Winners will receive financial support and mentorship to test their products and services for market reaction.
Products were also introduced during this conference. For example, Bromme Cole (President of Hampter Hoerter Healthcare) presented an app called “ihuhuhu” as a tool to improve workforce performance and customer satisfaction in elderly care service. A representative from Shanghai Haiyang Group introduced its CBO model to build an intelligent platform of senior services.
Panel discussions were held on areas of primary concern such as strategy to survive in this industry, the integration of health care and social welfare, and the application of digital technology in health and well-being. During the end of the expo, the panel discussion on digital technology aroused heated debate among the panelists and audience. The panelists included Hanzhang Wu (Director of Shanghai Technology Elderly Service Center), Lanning Tian (Director of Senior Service Informatics Development Committee of China Association of Social Welfare), Hans Ding (CEO of VSI IntelTech), Rui Zhang (Senior Consultant of UNIS), Nan Xi (Regional Business Director of Shenzhen Belter Health Management and Analysis Technology), and Vincent Yang (Founder of Zionchina.com). Even though the panelists had differing opinions about the role of digital technology in senior care, they all expected cooperation from diverse backgrounds to inspire future innovation.