Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp has ventured into China’s growing senior living market by acquiring a future 400-bed assisted living facility in the eastern city of Nanjing from China Overseas Land & Investment.
Slated for completion in the second half of 2023, the project in the Qixia district of the capital of Jiangsu province will span a total floor area of 19,846 square meters (213,621 square feet) and will be fitted out and operated by Keppel Land China, a subsidiary of Keppel Land Limited.
“We have identified senior living as one of the growth engines of Keppel Land’s strategy to be an asset-light provider of innovative and sustainable urban space solutions,” noted Louis Lim, CEO of Keppel Land, in a statement announcing the deal on Wednesday.
The company did not disclose the transaction price or the address of the site. As part of a series of agreements inked during the 16th Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council, Keppel Land simultaneously partnered with the Qixia district government to provide senior care services including assisted living, community support and home care.
Keppel Land China also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nanjing branch of state-owned developer China Overseas to work together in areas including urban renewal and senior living. China Overseas operates four senior living projects with a total area of 58,000 square meters (624,307 square feet) in Qingdao, Tianjin, Wuxi and Jinan, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.
The news comes in the same week that Keppel Land China exited a joint venture with Chinese developer Gemdale Properties to build a 1,651-unit residential project in Shanghai.
Tapping a New Market
In its announcement, Keppel noted that the upcoming facility would serve as a “launchpad” for the developer’s expansion into other senior living markets in China and elsewhere. The company’s first senior living project in China will serve a large and relatively affluent city of 9.42 million, where nearly 20 percent of the population is aged 60 and over.
Keppel said it would build the “low-carbon, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly” community in the Yanziji New Town, about six kilometers away from Nanjing’s downtown core. The facility will provide comprehensive assisted living services as well as day-care and home-care services to residents nearby.
The Yanziji subdistrict of Qixia district is located just south of the Yangtze River, northeast of central Nanjing. Keppel’s project is also located within a two-kilometer radius of a number of community amenities, including the Wanshou Hospital and the upcoming Yanziji Branch of Province People’s Hospital.
Keppel has a history in Nanjing. In 2018, the company partnered with Gemdale to build China Chic, an 8.8-hectare (21.7-acre) residential project in the city’s Jiangbei New Area, which Keppel exited in December of last year.
The company also owns a stake in Noblesse IX, a 3.8-hectare (9.4-acre) mixed-use development jointly built with Yincheng International in Nanjing’s Xuanwu district. Units in the development are fully sold, according to Keppel’s website.
Graying China Spurs Demand
Driven by a rapidly aging population, China’s senior care market is projected to reach $800 billion by 2025 and more than $3 trillion by 2030, according to figures from the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce.
An array of domestic and international companies, including property developers, insurers and private equity firms, have sought in recent years to tap anticipated demand created by the world’s largest elderly population by investing in senior living properties in China.
Australian property and infrastructure company Lendlease has invested at least $280 million in the Ardor Gardens luxury elder-care development in Shanghai’s Qingpu district, according to a Bloomberg report last year, after first announcing the project in 2018.
Singaporean investment firm Temasek Holdings in 2016 invested around $250 million in the China healthcare arm of Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Management, which had developed three senior living properties in Shanghai and Beijing along with a series of healthcare facilities.
Other players in the China’s senior living market include New China Life Insurance Co. and mainland developer China Vanke, which opened a 100-bed care center in Beijing in 2018.