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Advanced wheelchairs, exoskeletons: Businesses cash in big on China’s ageing population

Advanced wheelchairs, exoskeletons: Businesses cash in big on China’s ageing population
Advanced wheelchairs, exoskeletons: Businesses cash in big on China’s ageing population

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HIGH PRICES

However, many of these products are still relatively expensive.

For example, a single-sized bed that measures users’ biometrics as they slumber sells for over US$9,000 – about four times the price of an ordinary king-sized bed.

The bed, made locally by a Zhejiang company, can also perform a rocking motion which the manufacturer says helps users to sleep better.

According to a 2022 report, nearly one in five elderly in China suffer from insomnia, while almost half report poor sleep due to health problems.

These beds claim to ease at least one common woe – snoring.

They come equipped with a sensor that can detect if the user is snoring. When that happens, the top of the bed rises about 30 degrees, opening up the user’s airways.

“Once the airways are open and you breathe smoothly, the bed will go down again. When the airway is blocked, it leads to breathing difficulties and that causes snoring. With this snoring intervention, it extends the time you spend in deep sleep by over 10 per cent,” said Mr Xu Jianchun, general manager of Keeson Data, which manufactures the bed.

GROWING MARKET SEGMENT

As one of the world’s fastest ageing societies, China represents a huge growing market for products geared towards the elderly.

Official estimates last year put the market size at a whopping nearly US$700 billion.

Businesses catering to the elderly are hoping not only to appeal to their target market, but also children looking to ease their parents’ twilight years.

“When we talk about the purchasing power of the elderly, the paying population is not necessarily the elderly, but may be their children, especially the vast middle class in China,” said Mr Xiong Jun, founder of Changsha Youlong Robotics, one of the exhibitors at the event.

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