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China mulls greater support for healthcare industry

BEIJING - The Chinese government plans to further promote the development of healthcare industry to meet the needs of the rapidly growing elderly population.

Healthcare development is a key part of the country's supply-side structural reform and crucial to addressing people's needs, said a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday.

The meeting detailed key tasks, including setting up an action plan for healthcare industry development and streamlining administrative approvals for establishment of medical and elder care institutions.

The government will boost the integration of healthcare with elder care services, tourism, sports and the internet, and a supervisory system will be established to ensure a fair environment for development.

The statement also said that the government will cultivate more health professionals, support the research of urgently needed medicine and the production of medical equipments.

In the meantime, favorable policies will be provided to encourage private medical services, and foreign investors as partners to establish institutions in China.

The meeting also decided to launch pilot programs of home-based elderly care and community elder care services.

   A significant majority of shareholders in Chilean shipper Compania SudAmericana de Vapores lent their support to the firm's merger with Germany's Hapag-Lloyd, allowing the agreed deal to clear a hurdle.

The deal to create the world's No. 4 container-shipping company was conditional on no more than five percent of Vapores' total shareholders exercising withdrawal rights by April 20. The Chilean company said that dissident shareholders exercised withdrawal rights on only 2.7 percent of total shares, reported Reuters.

"This is another step in the road to completing this transaction, which we're sure will be enormously beneficial for our company and our investors," Vapores chief executive Oscar Hasbun said.

Shipping groups have been struggling through the worst slump on record, as they grapple with low freight rates brought by overcapacity and a weak global economy.

The deal will now need to pass regulatory scrutiny and the approval of the City of Hamburg's Senate.