Home care in China is an explosive growth opportunity. We know that China’s government has already explicitly stated that it wants 90% of all elderly to stay at home and age in place, receiving care from home care providers. Right now, a handful of domestic and foreign home care operators have entered China, but the size of the market is enormous, and it is clear there are a number of different ways to work in the home care market.
We stopped in a large private senior care facility in Guangzhou that takes care of nearly 6,000 elderly in the facility and private hospital they currently operate; however, they do not have any home care partner. Senior Helpers is ideally positioned to help them build out a home care platform, in particular one that addresses the unique aging needs that China’s current senior care sector is not well positioned to address. One other potential partner currently has 1.3 million elderly Chinese in their real-time tracking system. While they do not provide home care services, the size of the market they have already discovered is a strong signal of the market opportunity here.
Going it alone is not smart – find a partner. For Senior Helpers, this is probably one of the biggest insights we had during our time in the trip. Specifically, if a home care organization goes out without some sort of special relationship with a referral institution, they are going to struggle. It is not because the market is small, it is just that it is new, and because of this you want to find someone that already is talking to and working with Chinese elderly and their families. We have several ideas about how to do this, and we are eager to see these be reflected in the partners we work with across China.
Specialize, specialize, specialize. While general home care is a great opportunity, it also is going to inevitably compete with maids and what the Chinese call “hugong” or what we might think of as a transfer caregiver between the hospital and home. The point is that a bit of a workforce already exists for families to access around home care; however, these workers tend to be illiterate, have little to no training, and definitely have zero specialization in senior care. What Senior Helpers can provide is a major set of differentiating features, specifically our memory care and Parkinson’s programs, that clearly set our services on a different level from anything available in China. We can definitely provide basic aging in place services in China, and we plan on doing this, but we also recognize that our specialized services are going to be key to the success of our business and partners in China.
We are excited for our strategy in China to take further shape. If you are currently in China and interested to learn more about our home care platform, please reach out. We would love the schedule a webinar and present our capabilities in more detail.