Korea lags behind Japan and there’s little evidence yet thought that society understands the need to become more age-friendly, but some niche businesses are evolving.
This article from The Korean Herald, is titled “Baby boomers give birth to new industries” yet all the cases cited are for a much older demographic than the (65-year old max) baby boomer. Surely?
Here we go:
- Elderly care robot. At a nursing home in New Zealand, a Korean-made robot monitors residents’ vital signs and biorhythm in real time, provides brain training to prevent dementia and manages their medication schedules.
- Yegadeun is the country’s sole company specialized in delivering meals to elderly customers. Binggrae, a local confectionary group, teamed up with X-Vinn, Japan’s largest senior food delivery firm, in 2009 to localize the business. Customers can order online and by phone on a weekly or monthly basis to receive their food when they want. Professional dietitians plan the menu every day to provide good nutrition, the company said. A 6,000-won meal box contains about 520 calories.
- Irena branched out into the business of renting equipment for ageing in 2009. The company said it plans to become a nationwide franchise operator by establishing a retail network, developing consumer-tailored items and working with government agencies for a legal framework.
According to Statistics Korea, more than 1.04 million seniors aged 65 or older live on their own, up nearly 6 percent from a year earlier. They now make up more than 10 percent of the population.
The Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry claims the “silver” industry is projected to grow at an annual rate of 13 percent between 2010 and 2020.
The market, which stood at 6.4 trillion won in 2002, expanded to 31 trillion won last year and will rise to $116 trillion won, the Seoul Development Institute said.
I’ll be attending the World Knowledge Forum in Korea this October. It will be interesting to see how government and business is dealing with ageing.