China's death care market is to see robust growth in the coming five years, driven by the needs of an ageing society.
The number of people in China aged 60 or above is roughly 222 million, the largest elderly group of any nation. These seniors accounted for 16.1 per cent of the mainland population, according to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs. By 2050, that figure is expected to surpass 300 million, according to mainland brokerage house Essence International.
About 47.1 per cent of funerals involved cremation in China in 2015.
Faced with increasingly scarce land and soaring property prices, Chinese authorities have been striving to bolster the popularity of cremation, something which could prove a challenge in a nation where the cultural norm is to bury the deceased. China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced policies two years ago to push up the cremation rate to 100 per cent by 2020.
The market of traditional death care is forecast to grow 35 per cent annually, from 110.8 billion yuan last year to 505.4 billion yuan in 2020, China Merchants Securities analyst Dong Ruibin wrote in a report. In addition, death services, which includes eco-friendly burial methods as well as some traditional services, will surpass 200 billion yuan by 2020.
On a related note, innovative and eco-friendly burial methods are becoming popular in the world's second largest economy, especially in first and second tier cities.