Intelligent home automation technology enters the emerging aging care market in China

Lanchuang Network Technology Corp., a little known company, has launched one of the most ambitious private sector commitments in the senior care sector.

Provided with a configuration box, a webcam coupled with a TV and “Xiaoyi”, a Siri-like voice assistant, customers have access to telemedicine and an SOS system, as well as paid services including housekeeping services and of meal delivery.

A small robot that can call a medical center in response to verbal calls for help costs an extra 2 yuan a day.

Launched just four months ago, Lanchuang’s Intelligent Care System has already recruited 220,000 elderly clients in 16 cities, half of them in Shandong, a province in the country where the society is rapidly aging.

It targets 1.5 million users this year, 12 million next year and 30 million in 2021, while it hopes to be on the new Chinese Nasdaq technology dashboard.

The goal, however, is not to make money with its customers, some of whom earn pensions as low as a few hundred yuan a month, but to take a cut from offline service providers.

Lanchuang, who also works with China Mobile Ltd. ( 0941.HK ) on a smartphone for the elderly, is an example of the growing, albeit still nascent, attempts by entrepreneurs to provide comprehensive, intelligent home care services to large numbers of people. elderly people in China.

China has a quarter of a billion people aged 60 and over, and by 2050, the number is expected to rise to nearly half a billion, or 35% of the population, according to government estimates.

Liu, 66, from Jinan, capital of Shandong, knows how difficult it can be to take care of the elderly. During her mother’s last years, her urinary tract was obstructed despite wearing a catheter and often in the middle of the night, much to the despair of her daughter.

The retired accountant, who was unaware of technology products for the elderly, now lives alone and is reluctant to worry her own daughter and son-in-law.

Care for aging parents is traditionally the responsibility of children, but in modern China, where the one-child policy was only abolished in 2016, the son or daughter must look after four aging people, including the in-laws. Often, children have moved to distant cities for work.

Retirement homes and nursing homes are on the rise, but they are too expensive for most families and are largely perceived as abusive. Official surveys show that three-quarters of older people prefer to live their days at home.

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