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Pet care industry boosted by booming wealth

By Zheng Xin  (China Daily)

13:33, August 30, 2012

They can be big or small, with pedigrees or mutts, fluffy or scrubby, brisk or timid.

Whatever they are, it's estimated that China's pet care market will be worth $1.2 billion this year thanks to the country's growing affluence, according to consumer market research firm Euromonitor International.

And pets are benefiting from the booming market, with customized nutrition plans, regular health checkups, and yoga classes to keep fit.

"Increasing disposable incomes and the popularity of pets have greatly boosted the pet care services industry in China. More people are willing to spend money to support their loyal companions," said Tian Haiyan, director of the Beijing Guanshang Animal Hospital in Xicheng district. "More dogs in China are now truly living with their families as a member."

This view is echoed by Euromonitor, which estimates that a 35 percent jump in pet ownership was seen in the country since 2000. Some 33 million households keep a cat or a dog in China. The expenditure on pet care will reach 7.84 billion yuan ($1.23 billion) this year, a 46 percent increase since 2007, said the firm.

The London-based firm also estimates that the market will increase a further 64 percent by 2017, with 12.9 billion yuan expected to be splurged on pet food, healthcare and dietary supplements.

Tian's hospital is the city's first State-owned veterinary clinic. It was set up in 1992 in response to increasing demand from wealthy Chinese pet owners.

From bathing to teeth cleaning, and manicures to cataract surgeries, the hospital covers almost every pet care service you can think of.

"You name the service and we either have it or will be having it," said Tian.

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