Demand is rising for healthcare services specific to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, according to Christopher Chen, product specialist at Mirae Asset Global Investment, who spoke at Fund Selector Asia’s Investment Forum in Singapore last week.
“Over a third of [the world’s] diabetes patients are in China. Over a quarter of the world’s cancer deaths are in China. This is the scale of [healthcare investment] opportunities,” Chen said. He added that 230 million Chinese are grappling with cardiovascular disease – more than the combined populations of France, Germany and the UK.
Axa Investment Managers noted that the Chinese government’s emphasis on building its healthcare infrastructure is a boon not only for the healthcare industry. The positive effects are expected to ripple through the insurance and financial services sectors as well.
“The building out of basic health insurance and a social security net will allow progress to another long-term goal of reducing the extremely high savings ratio and thus support the drive for more consumption,” the firm said in a research note.
Over the long-term, China faces a huge demographic challenge (see chart below). The central government is attempting to find solutions, with the recent announcement to end to the one-child policy as an example.
"Over a third of diabetes patients are in China. Over a quarter of the world’s cancer deaths are in China. This is the scale of the [healthcare] opportunities"
“The relaxation of [the] one-child policy and successful enhancement in safety nets could help boost near to medium-term demand growth through more child-related or senior consumption, respectively,” according to BlackRock.
China's demographics and the growing economic burden
From 2015-2030, China’s elderly popuation (65-100) is forecast to grow significantly while the working age population (15-64) continues to decline.