The long-term care system in China relies heavily on informal care provided by family members. This study makes projections on the demand for informal care among Chinese older people between 2015 and 2035 and quantifies the level of long-term care resources needed to meet their needs. The data come from longitudinal information in a nationally representative sample, China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey 2011 and 2013. The macrosimulation approach (PSSRU model) and the Markov approach are integrated into one Bayesian modelling framework. The Monte Carlo simulation technique is used to capture parameter uncertainty. We project that the demand for informal care will increase from 41.3 million people (95 per cent CI: 39.9-42.7) in 2015 to 82.6 million people (95 per cent CI: 78.3-86.9) in 2035. The long-term care system faces unbalanced pressure of demand for informal care from different groups of older people. The projected demand is sensitive to changes in older people's disability trajectory and the availability of formal care provided by the government, but less sensitive to an increase in singleton households in the future. We discuss possible policy measures to alleviate the mounting pressure on the demand for informal care.