Ageing population

People visit a shopping mall in Beijing, China, on 18 February 2024. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

China’s capital market faces challenge of shrinking population

Chinese academic Han Heyuan notes that amid longstanding challenges, an emerging issue could sink China’s capital market further in dire straits: a declining population.
A newborn baby is transported along a corridor of Rome's Santo Spirito Hospital, Italy, on 14 November 2022. (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

Mismatch between women's wants and social support cause of Italy's demographic woe

Italy is facing a major population challenge in late marriages and low birth rates, as young people struggle to start their own families given low incomes and larger global issues such as war and climate change. Can the conservative party Brothers of Italy convince young people to have more children?
A Japanese boy stretching with a ball during a clinic arranged by J2 football club Matsumoto Yamaga with the Matsumoto City Kiri Kindergarten in Japan, in November 2018. (SPH Media)

Can Japan overcome its declining birth rate?

Japanese academic Hisakazu Kato observes that Japan's low birth rate has been an issue for decades seemingly with no solution, and despite efforts by the Japanese government to address the problem, its policies have come under criticism for not being what the people need.
People exit a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan, 19 August 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

[Big read] Can older workers solve Taiwan's labour shortage problem?

Given Taiwan’s low birth rate and ageing population, the labour shortage has become a severe issue, especially in the hospitality industry. While the government seems to be keen to open up to migrant workers, this might mean larger issues down the road. So why not open up the opportunities for Taiwan’s middle-aged and elderly? Lianhe Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang speaks with academics and industry insiders to find out more.
A worker checks a rotor core used for wind turbines at a factory in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China, on 20 September 2023. (AFP)

China’s economic weakness as informed by the ‘Taiwan model’

While China has tried to diversify its export destinations, as Taiwan did when it faced economic bottlenecks in the early periods of its development, its manufacturing sector with a large presence of foreign firms is still largely tied to the US market. Meanwhile, efforts to lift the domestic economy have been stymied by a lack of consumer spending and regulatory clampdowns. Academic Min-Hua Chiang examines the issue.
People ride a small train for children on a street in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China on 16 September 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Why China’s population policies always veer towards the extreme

China’s population policies have had a tendency to veer towards the extreme since the era of Mao, says commentator Yu Shiyu. A delayed response to adjusting the one-child policy, which has resulted in a declining population and is expected to have an adverse economic impact, demonstrates the inefficiency of an authoritarian system in self-correcting. Its decision making could also swing between extremes as it is based on subjective top-level thinking.
Yao Jianhua, one of the few old Beijingers who is still living in a hutong. (Photo: Li Shanyi)

[Video] The last few guardians of Beijing's hutong culture

While hutongs are a unique historical sight in Beijing, they are quickly disappearing as people move out and relocate to government housing with modern amenities. Those who remain are generally the older generation, while the look and function of hutongs is also changing. How much longer will hutongs last?
The matchmaking corner at Chongqing People's Park, China. (SPH/Edwin Ong)

Desperate parents gather in China's latest matchmaking park for the sake of their kids

Since the start of this year, hordes of parents have descended on the Chongqing People’s Park matchmaking corner every weekend to find a potential mate for their children. Many parents there lament that the matchmaking corner is like a “hypermarket” where parents try to “outmanoeuvre” each other. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong believes that it is also a microcosm of the socioeconomic divide in China.
Elderly people chat outside a restaurant along a street in Beijing, China, on 16 March 2023. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Why both old and young are against raising the retirement age in China

With pension funds slowly depleting, Chinese officials are looking to increase the statutory retirement age to alleviate the pressure on government coffers, increase pension contributions and resolve labour shortages. However, Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that the policy is facing resistance from those nearing retirement as well as the younger generation.