Tony Walker, Sales Operations & Business Development Director, talks about the last few days and second exhibition of his business mission in China.

On the eighth day of our mission we were taken to the heart of Shanghai and the UK Trade and Investment offices to hear from a number of organisations, including elderly housing providers and experts at trading in China. It was so interesting to see how all of the organisations are facing the same issues – demand for housing, education around care due to a shortage of trained staff, and a lack of knowledge about how technology can help. Some of the planned developments were huge! The largest was an elderly care resort being built in a large poor area by China Railway, which is aiming to develop golf courses and a creation of a new town.

The next day we headed to the first day of the Care Expo China in Shanghai – our second exhibition of the mission and the larger of the two. We had managed to source a stand with information about Tunstall written in Chinese for this exhibition which really helped – the traffic to our stand was non-stop! There was a great interest in our full range of solutions, with some visitors asking where they can go to buy the equipment.

There seems to be an assumption that care is all about the face to face contact, but visitors were quick to understand how technology can be a huge help, providing support and reassurance but not replacing the face to face contact that people still need and want. They were particularly interested in the telehealth and smart home technology models, as quite a few organisations are wanting to build huge health and elderly care resorts – where this technology would be extremely useful.

I also represented Tunstall on a press briefing with about eight different newspapers and publications – we had some great coverage including this piece in Shanghai Daily.

The ‘Good Match’ concept

The second day of the exhibition was less busy than the first, which allowed more time for longer and more detailed discussion with the stand visitors. I also attended the ‘Good Match’ event, which was a form of speed dating for organisations – Tunstall was the only UK Technology Company represented and we had a lot of interest because of that. Many of the conversations from the day were around care in the community, which we had not seen much of so far. However there were a number of positive discussions around the Tunstall Lifeline unit and telecare in general. Joyway, a care in the community organisation in China got into some real detail with us about training, monitoring and pricing. The Good Match concept was a great one and worth it – definitely a change to be able to have real face to face discussions without the distraction of the stand.

By late afternoon we started to dismantle the stand and I said my goodbyes to the UK Healthcare team as I was beginning the long journey back to Yorkshire the next day.

My journey comes to an end

The last two weeks have flown by in China, and the mission was a big success. We had lots of interesting conversations with different companies, many of them were engaged with who Tunstall are and what we do. There is no doubting that China are facing a huge problem with their Elderly Care as the percentage of over 65’s is expected to rise from 10% of the population to 30% by 2050 – that’s around 440 million elderly people! They need help to reshape the sector to bring the medical systems up to be viable for this future, but this mission has helped us promote the message of how technology can help with these big problems.

I have had a great journey and I hope you have enjoyed following it on Twitter and in my previous two blogs.

Read Tony’s first blog: How Tunstall is helping develop elderly care in China

Read the second blog in the series: Representing Healthcare UK in Hangzhou, China