After three decades of selling homemade buns on the streets of the Chinese city of Xian, 67-year-old Hu Dexi would have liked to slow down.

Instead, Hu and his older wife have moved to the edge of Beijing, where they wake at 4 a.m. every day to cook their packed lunch, then commute for more than an hour to a downtown shopping mall, where they each earn 4,000 yuan ($552) monthly working 13-hour shifts as cleaners.

The alternative for them and many of the 100 million rural migrants reaching retirement age in China over the next 10 years is to return to their village and live off a small farm and monthly pensions of 123 yuan ($17).