Every morning at around 8:00am the small park we live above in Shanghai springs to life with music, dancing, Tai chi, and singing. If this post was about night-time in a park in the US, you would probably think it was a place where high school kids hang out and have parties. Not so in China. Our park is for elderly Shanghai residents, and all morning long they fill the park as they get out of their homes, socialize, and keep the rust from forming on their joints.
At about 11:00am the park starts quieting down as they all go home to have lunch, but then at around 12:30pm the senior center located at the park’s entrance springs to life with groups that sing, dance, and play instruments, usually as they recreate famous Chinese opera pieces. This boisterous activity continues until around 5pm, when the building suddenly falls silent and dumps the retirees out onto the street so they can go home to start cooking dinner. As long as it’s not raining or snowing, this is their daily routine.
While I find the senior center interesting — though, to be honest, it’s filled with a bit too much Chinese opera for my taste — I’m not writing this just to share a fun factoid. This senior center is just one of thousands throughout China that are serving this very large segment of the population. For the right kind of entrepreneurs, these retirees, along with the demographic shift they represent, are a great opportunity.