Today, Southeast Asia is experiencing a boom in number of retirees, raising the demand for retirement homes and additional smart solutions in eldercare and related sectors.
The UN estimates that by 2015, Southeast Asia will have 57 million people from 65 years-old and above, which is an increase of 430% from year 2000.This development can open up potential markets for Scandinavian companies in rehabilitation, elderly care and healthcare.
Growing number of seniors in Thailand
Especially in Thailand, this development is significant. According to the organization Global Age Watch, in 2015 15,8% of the country’s population was 60 and above, a figure that the organization projects to increase to 26,9% in 2030 and further escalate to 37,1% in 2050.
Furthermore, an increasing number of seniors from other regions are coming to Thailand for their retirement, according to a research by the Department of Tourism in Thailand.
“Most long-stay tourists in Thailand are Japanese retirees. The numbers of Chinese and European retirees are also relatively high” a department official explained to Asia Focus.
Thailand is placed high on international ranking lists of the best countries to retire in, which encourages international retirees to settle down in the country.
The authorities in Thailand have recognized the growing number of foreign retirees and started softening regulations in this field. Today, retirement visas are more frequently issued and the Board of Investment (BoI) have initiated tax breaks and 100% foreign ownership of aged-care facilities.
Potential markets for Scandinavian companies
Scandinavian countries have previously tried to export eldercare solutions to Asia. For instance, from 2010 to 2015, Sweden and Denmark arranged delegations to China and signed trade agreements with Chinese authorities on eldercare.
According to the Danish magazine Ugebrevet A4, the problem with these agreements were, at least in the Danish cases, that the export was mainly in form of system and services, which did not fit the Chinese demand for material products.
Today Scandinavian business missions and delegations to Southeast Asia mainly target the healthcare sector in the region. For instance, from 17 to 19 October 2016, the Danish Health Tech Group of the Danish Export Association, in cooperation with the Royal Danish Embassy in Jakarta is inviting to a delegation to Indonesia in connection to a Hospital Expo. Also, on March 16 2016, the Finnish Team Finland arranged a ‘FinlandCare’ delegation trip to Malaysia and Singapore to promote Finnish health know-how.
However, as of today, Scandinavian companies does not seem to notice the potential possibilities emerge from Southeast Asia’s agening populations. However, as eldercare related markets in the region are expected to grow rapidly in the years to come, their interest may follow, as these markets provide good prospects for future investment.
Asia Focus, Bangkok Post (July 11, 2016)
Ugebrevet A4 (February 16, 2015): http://www.ugebreveta4.dk/danmark-vinder-mere-prestige-end-penge-paa-oestens-ve_19988.aspx