Robots to the aid of senior care, fuel ‘silver economy,’ official document says

The country is wrestling with a shortage of labor while struggling to meet surging demand for senior care and in-home assistance.

China will take steps to foster the adoption of smart care and household service robots to help attend to the needs of its aging population, the country’s cabinet said recently.

In a document titled “Opinions on Development of Silver Economy to Improve Well-being of Senior Citizens,” the State Council said the nation’s caregiving industry should focus on diversified needs and cultivate promising sectors.

Wider use of smart care and in-home service robots tops the official agenda as authorities pledge to promote innovation for items catering to the elderly and build new business formats for intelligent senior care.

Galaxy Securities, a main stock brokerage firm, explained that China’s demographic shift is set to open up new markets for service robots that care for the elderly.

Data released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that as of 2022, China had 280.04 million people aged 60 and older, representing 19.8% of the entire population.

Those 65 years of age and older numbered 209.78 million, making up 14.9% of the total.

The country is wrestling with a shortage of labor while struggling to meet surging demand for senior care and in-home assistance.

Robots will thus play a bigger role in alleviating the burden of caregivers, Galaxy Securities said in a research note.

‘Robot+’

China released a high-profile “Robot+” action plan last year, in which it outlined 10 areas where it believes robots can improve living standards and bolster work efficiency, among other benefits.

One of these areas is rehabilitation and senior care, since the nation faces a big shortfall in the number of caregivers needed.

According to a study cited by Galaxy Securities, the market for China’s smart service robotic products and solutions grew from 19.3 billion yuan (US$2.69 billion) in 2018 to 51.6 billion yuan in 2022, averaging a CAGR of 27.9%.

It is projected to more than triple to 183.2 billion yuan by 2028.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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