One of the key sectors targeted by the Plan is Health and Aged Care. The 13th Five Year Plan promotes the idea of a “Healthy China”, encouraging the participation of the private sector in the establishment of an integrated health and aged care system. Foreign investment is viewed favourably due to its ability to introduce international best practices in to the Chinese market.
The Plan details a number of key targets in the health and aged care space:
• Increase the number of qualified doctors and medical assistants to 2.5 per 1,000 persons;
• Increase the number of general practice doctors to 2 per 10,000 persons;
• Systematically train 500,000 resident doctors to adequate standards;
• Establish 1-2 public hospitals in each county;
• Maintain the proportion of urban and rural citizens with health insurance above 95%;
• Reduce premature mortality from critical chronic diseases by 10%;
• Reduce the infant mortality rate to 7.5%, the mortality rate for children under 5 years to 9.5%; and the mortality rate for childbirth to 18 per 100,000 persons.
Opportunities for international businesses in China
As China’s demographics alter and its population becomes older and increasingly more urban, China’s growing middle class is beginning to demand higher quality health care. This trend is already generating opportunities for offshore service suppliers, and it is expected more opportunities for international providers offering packaged health, medical and leisure services. Others are likely to take advantage of specific policies, which encourage cross border investment – for example, China’s policy to allow Hong Kong entities to set up wholly-owned hospitals.
The Plan also promotes the concept of “smart health care”. This covers a wide range of initiatives, including internet-based health information platforms and electronic health records. As expected, China’s demand for various types of technology and innovation in the health sector to increase, presenting a unique opportunity for foreign investors with expertise in advanced medical research and technology to provide system solutions for a growing Chinese market.