A number of intelligent terminal products have quickened their steps towards becoming more convenient and accessible for elderly people in China. An official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said recently that 104 websites and online applications in China have made themselves elderly-friendly.
In China, people aged 60 or above now number 264 million, according to the latest national census in China. In November 2020, the general office of the State Council released an implementation plan on solving difficulties that senior people encounter in the use of digital devices. The plan called on society to accommodate senior citizens’ needs for travelling, receiving medical services, consumption, enjoying cultural and entertainment services, and handling personal matters.
Over the past year, noticeable progress has been made in this aspect. On Sept. 1, 2021, the mobile app for China’s official online railway ticket-booking platform 12306.cn was upgraded with improved accessibility for seniors who struggled using digital devices.
To improve the user experience for seniors when they purchase railway tickets online, the website offers elderly-friendly options such as zooming in and out, bigger fonts, and quicker ticket purchases.
Since this year, various local governments across the country have taken measures to simplify the process senior people have to go through when handling their own matters. Hospitals in Beijing shortened the procedure for elderly people to access medical services online, while rolling out voice assistance and consulting services exclusively for senior people.
Since health codes have become increasingly indispensable for citizens for COVID-19 prevention purposes and used to verify their identity, Henan and Anhui provinces and the municipality of Shanghai have rolled out paper versions of the health codes for the added convenience of senior citizens.
Since this year, the digital yuan has started to be used for transactions in a number of places. According to Di Gang, deputy head of the digital currency research institute at the People’s Bank of China, the bank has developed a special bank card for elderly people, having installed a health QR code system into the card. With the card, elderly people can complete a payment easily just by swiping the card or scanning a QR code.
On Sept. 28, 2021, online food delivery platform Eleme launched a platform just for elderly people. With bigger fonts and a simpler page, the platform offers services that senior people use more frequently, including ordering food as well as purchasing vegetables, daily necessities and medicines.
Senior people are largely keen on learning and adapting to intelligent terminal products, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The report found that 95.09 percent of the senior respondents thought it was very necessary to learn to surf the Internet and 93.36 percent expressed that they could learn how to surf the Internet through their own self-teaching.
China’s three telecom giants – China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom – have held over 40,000 classes on smart phone use that have benefited over 600,000 elderly people.
With elderly people being more willing to embrace new technologies, this tendency is meanwhile expected to generate business opportunities for enterprises. Zhu Wei, a member of the expert committee with the China Consumers Association, said that companies should seize the opportunity by providing a more convenient experience for elderly people while paying increasingly more attention to their personal habits. “They can start from upgrading equipment and technologies that elderly use most frequently, and then to making the whole industrial ecology elderly-friendly,” Zhu explained.