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Asia's ageing population: A golden opportunity for business

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One in five people on this planet will be aged 60 and over by mid-century, rising from 900 million in 2015 to 2.1 billion in 2050. Those 60 and older will soon outnumber children younger than five; in developed markets, the 65-and-over cohort already surpasses those under 15.

No region will be more impacted by population ageing than Asia. At 83.9 years, life expectancy at birth in Japan is one of the longest in the world. A quarter of Japanese people are over 65 today; by 2060 the proportion is projected to rise to 40 per cent. China is already struggling to address the needs of its massive, and often rural, ageing population. In South Korea and Singapore, the effects of the age wave are already obvious.

This unprecedented demographic shift raises important questions about the prospects for gross domestic product growth, the risks of spiralling health costs, and the adequacy of public and private pension programmes. But population ageing presents a golden opportunity as well.

Increasing longevity has spurred economic growth and opportunities for personal fulfilment. Older individuals are generally healthier than those in generations past, and they seek to remain engaged and relevant. Advances in bioscience offer the........

© The Straits Times