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Tony Milton MRICS

BSc (Hons) Est Man

Other of Leisure & Golf
Monday, 16 March 2009







Southeast Asian developers are targeting Japanese retirees, hoping the lure of cheap homes and health care will create a profitable new niche market. Home builders are hoping today's trickle - just 1 in 3,000 Japanese pensioners live abroad - becomes a steady flow because over-50s hold 75% of Japan's individual wealth. In the Philippines, which wants to attract nearly a mil­lion foreign retirees by 2015, creating 4 million related jobs, Robinson Land Corp plans to build houses for Japanese who are more used to cramped apartments. "The government is selling the Philippines as a retirement destination, so we're looking at building leisure retirement vil­las," Robinson Land President Frederick Go said at a conference in Hong Kong. "For USD$100,000 you can really own a palace in the Phil­ippines." In Thailand, developers LPN Development PCL, Cham Issara PCL and Quality Houses PCL are building in a thriving "little Tokyo" in central Bangkok, an area popular with the 30,000 Japanese expatriates living in Thailand. A Bangkok apartment is typically a third the price of the equivalent in Tokyo. Some estimates show Japan will have 1 person over 65 to every 2 of working age by 2025 - a higher dependency ra­tio than any other major industrialized nation. Pension­ers now make up nearly a quarter of the 127 million population.




About 1.3 million medical tourists from Asia, Europe, and the US fly to Singapore, Thailand or Malaysia each year for medical treatment because they are wary of the hospitals back home or consider them too expensive. Medical tourism is poten­tially big business in Asia, and is expected to grow from about US$0.5 billion now to $4 billion by 2012. Singapore wants to draw 1 million foreign patients a year by 2012, up from 400,000 in 2006; Bangkok aims to attract 2 million for­eign patients by 2010, up from 1.25 million in 2005; while Manila is hoping for 700,000 patients, up from 250,000 last year. A heart bypass operation costs about USD$12,000 in Bangkok, compared to USD$20,000 in a Singapore hospital and USD$150,000 in the US, accord­ing to Macquarie Research.


The first major development in the sector was made in mid-2008, when Hoa Lam Development Investment JSC signed a deal for a 70/30 JV with Singapore's Shangri-La Health Care In­vestment Company to develop a USD$350 million, 37 hectare 3 phase hi-tech healthcare park complex including a modern hospital with 1,750 beds, facilities of healthcare, medical di­agnostic center, an antenatal ward, a ward for treating cancer, and a medical training center. There will also be space for res­cue helicopters on the rooftop. The zone will be developed to a high standard con­sidered as the best-quality healthcare complex in Vietnam as well as in Southeast Asia. The HCMC Hi-tech Medical Zone project in Binh Tan was licenced in 1999 but implemented very slowly until the city decided to invite the participa­tion of foreign investors.


Last Updated ( Friday, 27 March 2009 )
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