Aged care to Korea

Trends and opportunities

The market

The Republic of Korea (ROK, also known as South Korea) is a rapidly ageing society with around 14 per cent of the total population aged over 65, increasing to 20.8 per cent by 2026.

Despite of the strength of the South Korean economy, the poverty rate of the local elderly population is one of the highest among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. However, it is expected that the market demand in Korea’s aged care industry will grow as the baby boomer generation (born in 1955-1963) enters retirement age. The baby boomer generation of ‘active seniors’ will lead a different life style to previous generations with their high consumption power and play an important role in the development of South Korea’s aged care industry (Source: Korea Health Industry Development Institute, Market trend of Korea’s aged care industry 2015).

Market size

According to the Aged Care Industry Report by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), South Korea’s aged care market in 2012 was valued at approximately US$24.9 billion with an expected compound annual growth rate of 13.0 per cent from 2012-2020.

The aged care market size comprises eight market segments across the industries such as care services, medicine, medical device, cosmetics, food, leisure, residential, consumables.

The 2020 forecast shows that the senior leisure market will be the largest market segment accounting for 36.0 per cent of the sector, followed by food (24.2 per cent), care service (13.8 per cent) and medicine (13.4 per cent) (Source: Korea Health Industry Development Institute, Market trend of Korea’s aged care industry 2015).

Regulatory environment

According to the Plan for Ageing Society and Population 2011-2015, produced by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the South Korean Government has set strategies to boost the aged care industry. Some of the major strategies introduced include:

Support technological development for aged care products

  • Establish a database to suit the needs of South Korean elderly people.
  • Develop and distribute product development guidelines.
  • Develop and distribute product usability assessment guidelines.

Standardise aged care products and services

  • Establish South Korean standardisation for aged care products and services.
  • Improve service quality of aged care facilities.
  • Strengthen international standardisation activities and improve South Korean firms’ understanding of standards.

Expand registration and certification of aged care products and services

  • Certify premium quality aged care product.
  • Select firms of high quality and provide incentives.

Opportunities

The KHIDI has identified strategic areas of business per each industry in their report, which are potential business opportunities for Australian firms with relevant capabilities.

Care services

  • home care assistance
  • medical check-up service
  • medical consultation and management service.

Medicine

  • diagnosis and treatment of various cancers
  • dementia
  • Alzheimer
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • anti-inflammatory.

Medical device

  • dental implant
  • dental CAD/CAM system
  • artificial Intraocular lens
  • hearing aid
  • dental X-ray computed tomography
  • medical device for arthritis.

Consumables

  • personal healthcare and medical items
  • prevention or slowing down function degradation
  • leisure items.

Financial service

  • personal pension
  • retirement pension.

Links and industry contacts

Aged care-related resources

Korea Health Industry Development Institute  
Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs 
Korea National Institute of Health
Korea Senior Products Association
Korean Geriatrics Society 
Ministry of Health and Welfare 

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