Shenzhen, China’s third largest city, is teaming up with the country’s largest homebuilder to jointly develop its first-ever public-private partnership senior living community project, as part of the city’s reforms aimed at addressing a shortage of health care facilities. China Vanke, the Shenzhen-based developer with annual sales surpassing 200 billion yuan, said it won the PPP contract after fierce competition among bidders this week. “Elderly care is a very serious problem in China as a whole, and although Shenzhen is a relatively young city, its older population is growing rapidly and the city will soon face the issue of aging society,” said Vanke chairman Wang Shi. Starting January 1, 2017, Vanke will redevelop a government-run block of apartments for senior residents in Futian District, the city’s financial and political core, into a fresh senior living community providing 420 beds and a variety of services from day care to medical-nursing combined care, the company said, without disclosing the investment amount. Shenzhen’s older population is growing rapidly and the city will soon face the issue of aging society Wang Shi, Vanke chairman Shenzhen’s average life expectancy has reached 80 years, one of the highest in China. Its ageing population had climbed to 1.2 million by 2015, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the total population.That proportion will surge to 10 per cent by 2020, the local government estimates. Although the number is still low compared with Beijing or Shanghai, the city is facing increasing pressure to take care of its elderly citizens as its current facilities are seen as seriously inadequate. The southern Chinese coastal city has a large number of elderly people living alone because their children have gone to study overseas or left for other reasons. To date, the city has only opened 31 aged care service institutions providing 8,359 beds, according to official data. And existing facilities are facing a lot of problems, from out-of-date equipment to a lack of professional staff. The tie-up with Vanke will prompt social capital to flow into projects for the elderly, enhance the quality of senior care and become a “benchmark” of urban community care for the aged population, said Gao Shengyuan, Futian District’s deputy Party chief and head of the district government. Vanke said it hopes the PPP project can provide a new, practical business model for Shenzhen, and even China’s senior care industry. The developer, which built its first senior-oriented apartment in Beijing in 2010, has already opened over 70 projects aimed at the elderly nationwide so far.