Date
12 December 2017
An office worker in Shenyang checks out tomb-sweeping service providers on the Taobao online mall. Photo: HKEJ
An office worker in Shenyang checks out tomb-sweeping service providers on the Taobao online mall. Photo: HKEJ

Funeral business goes online

Given the huge elderly population, it’s no surprise that funeral business has emerged as a new gold mine in China. Among the firms riding this activity is Fu Shou Yuan International Group (01448.HK).

The Shanghai-based company, which listed in Hong Kong in 2013, operates a chain of high-end cemeteries across China and has become the nation’s largest death care services provider.

Not resting on its laurels, Fu Shou Yuan is now trying to win more business by introducing an app that will enable people to order services online.

To commemorate and pay respect to ancestors, Chinese families typically visit gravesites on Tomb Sweeping Day. But as people get increasingly busy nowadays, not all can spare the time to go there in person to the tomb and conduct the rituals.

Now, Fu Shou Yuan’s app promises to solve this problem.

Zhao Yu, a deputy general manager of the group, says customers can download the app into their smartphones and order tomb-sweeping services with a few clicks.

Fu Shou Yuan will send its staff to sweep the tomb and offer flowers to the deceased on behalf of the clients. The staff will take photographs and send it to the clients as proof that they have performed all the tasks.

Now, it may seem silly that somebody would want to send others to show respect to the ancestors on one’s behalf, but the fact is that many people in China have begun to love the idea.

Online business already accounts for around 20 percent of Fu Shou Yuan’s total revenue, and it continues to grow.

Though funeral business is very profitable and its prospects look great, there are difficulties too.

Not many youngsters are eager to join the industry, partly because there are still some age-old prejudices in Chinese society.

To attract people to work in the business, Fu Shou Yuan plans to set up a funeral academy within the next three to five years.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

EJ Insight writer

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