EDITOR'S PICKS

60% of the World’s Elderly Will Live in Asia by 2030 — and It’s a Good Thing

Asia’s population is aging fast, but it’s not entirely bad news

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 21 Sep 2017

60% of the World’s Elderly Will Live in Asia by 2030—It’s a Good Thing

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

According to Deloitte’s recent Voice of Asia report, Asia will be home to 60% of people aged over 65 by 2030. It also indicates that by the year 2042 there will be more people over the age of 65 in Asia than in North America and Eurozone combined.

In Singapore, one in four people will be aged 65 by the time 2030 rolls in; local businesses in the country are even taking advantage of this phenomenon, such as Caregiver Asia, a specialist provider of health and caregiver services.

Eastern countries in Asia are no stranger to this aging phenomenon: Japan and South Korea have long been dealing with its increasingly aging population. Hong Kong also faces a similar issue, hitting a record high of people aged 65 and above at 16%, according to a South China Morning Post report earlier this year.

Good or bad news?

But what does this all mean for the future of businesses in the region?

As it turns out, it’s not so bad.

“Ageing populations may well be challenging to some nations, but they will also present some incredible business opportunities within those same nations,” says Chris Richardson, Deloitte Australia Economist in a media release. “Our analysis shows that ageing will produce some very large winners at the industry level, particularly in Asia.”

The report also suggests “big accelerators” that will contribute to this growth in an aging region, “with each building on the other.”

One, it will cause an increase in the money being spent on the ageing population and the management of their myriad chronic conditions. As a result, the money in these industries will grow even faster than the population itself.

Another is “private sector opportunities will grow even faster still, because stretched government budgets mean the share of health-related costs borne by taxpayers is likely to decrease in the decades ahead,” according to the release.

To be sure, many countries will struggle to adapt to this trend. Nevertheless, there’s still room for many businesses to thrive. It’s all about preparation and understanding what neighboring countries have done over the past decades to tackle the issue and learn from them.

Following in their footsteps

Sitao Xu, chief economist of Deloitte China says that there’s a lot that both China and Hong Kong can learn from Japan and how it has been dealing with its elderly. In Japan the aging population has changed the country’s business landscape, having found a way to accommodate the demographic.

“In Hong Kong, life expectancy is at 84 years, which is higher than many developed countries, yet health care expenditure is still quite low, accounting for just 5.7 percent of GDP,” says Xu in the media release.

“There will be increasing demand in the health care industry, and as Government spending continues to be tightened, much of this demand will be addressed by the private sector. Additional growth will be seen in consumer goods for the elderly, age-appropriate housing and social infrastructure, as well as asset management and insurance.”

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