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Pension market set for boom as nation ages, attitudes on retirement change
Last Updated: 2016-08-16 17:17 | Global Times
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The pension market in China is full of potential, as the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) continues to rise rapidly and their attitudes toward retirement are becoming more open-minded and optimistic, Chen Dongsheng, the CEO of insurance company Taikang Life, told a press briefing on Monday.

In 2014, the Chinese pension industry was valued at 4.1 trillion yuan ($617.69 billion), equivalent to 6.4 percent of GDP, according to a study jointly released by Taikang and the Hurun Report on Monday.

The figure is relatively low compared with the average of 10 percent in developed countries like the U.S. and Japan, Chen noted.

It is predicted that the market will enjoy robust growth and reach 7.7 trillion yuan by 2020 before further climbing to 22.3 trillion yuan in 2030, the report noted.

One of the main reasons behind the potential surge in the pension market is the rise in the number of Chinese HNWIs, or individuals with 10 million yuan of personal wealth or more, experts noted.

There were 1.34 million such people of May 2016, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, said the report.

"For Chinese HNWIs, healthcare has surpassed financial investment and ranks first among the topics of concern in 2016," Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman of the Hurun Report, said at the press briefing.

Yang Yansui, a professor at the -Public Management Institute of Tsinghua -University, compared the nation's basic social security plan to "bread," meaning that it can only meet basic demands.

Therefore, butter, or "higher-level demand" for such items as recreation and a sense of social belonging, which are affordable for Chinese HNWIs, will contribute to the boom of the pension market, Yang told the Global Times on Monday.

The rise of the industry also coincides with a shift in the social perceptions toward retirement among HNWIs, experts noted.

According to the report, the proportion of respondents who choose senior living communities after retirement has grown 13 percentage points from 2015 to 28 percent in 2016, while the group opting for retiring at home has contracted 20 percentage points to 57 percent in the same period.

"The aging group expects to lead colorful and relaxed lives, and also to travel extensively after retirement," Hoogewerf said.

Hoogewerf also noted that moving into senior living communities can not only address their needs, but also reduce pressures on their children who already face social burdens due to the one-child policy.

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