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Online care business raises filial piety concerns

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-16 13:20

BEIJING - A growing number of elderly care services are being registered on, one of China's largest online shopping sites, offering to visit customers' aged parents, buy their groceries or even just a chat.

More than 100 new online elderly care service providers have been registered since a Chinese law requiring family members to visit their aging parents came into effect. The amended Law for the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly came into force on July 1.

The law stipulates that relatives should attend to the spiritual needs of their elderly family members. Those who live separately from their elderly relatives should visit them regularly.

As a result of the amended law, there has been an increase in the number of registered online businesses offering elderly care services, which has raised concerns over the absence of filial piety, the respect of one's parents.

Such services are an alternative for young Chinese people to perform their filial piety as they are too busy to visit elderly relatives.

Costs of services range from 10 yuan ($1.63) to 2,000 yuan.

One of the online stores on called Rainbow has more than 1,000 registered staff members in provincial cities around China. It has sold 92 services over the past two weeks.

"There has been a rise in trade since the revised law took effect, with an increasing number of people wanting such services, " a Rainbow employee called Andy told Xinhua.

He said the company provides all-day services for seniors, costing 150 yuan but excluding staff members' travel expenses.

A separate online store owner from southern China's Guangdong province said they are still conducting market research and will look to charge about 9,999 yuan per service, dedicated to providing first-class services.

Many elderly people suffer from loneliness and depression as their needs are largely neglected.

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