With increasing numbers of Chinese people beginning to keep pets, China’s pet service industry has the potential to be big business.
It is estimated that currently about 6 percent of Beijing families have pets -- that means there are at least 100,000 pets in the capital.
In Guangzhou, the biggest city in south China, there are about 60,000 dogs and cats.
In Shanghai, there are 60,000 dog owners.
Chinese pet-lovers do not appear to spare expense when it comes to taking care of their new “family members.”
According to a report from the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News, every year Shanghai citizens spend a total of 200 million yuan (US$24 million) on their pets.
In Beijing the figure is 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million) and in Guangzhou it is 3 million yuan (US$360,000).
However, the country’s pet service industry lags far behind people’s expectations and experiences a number of problems.
According to a survey conducted by the Beijing-based Horizon Marketing Research Company last month, many people are dissatisfied with pet services.
A total of 1,003 randomly selected Beijing residents were asked about what they thought of the industry. The average mark given to pet services was 3.1 points out of a possible five. Major complaints include unreasonable charges and poor service.
At present, there are about 120 pet hospitals in Beijing, 80 percent of which are not registered. With the absence of regulations, many practices have poor standards.
In addition, it is thought many people know little about how to take care of their pets.
The Horizon survey found only 39.3 percent of interviewees feed their animals packaged pet food, which could lead to poor diets and health problems.
Lured by big profits, many domestic enterprises have entered the dog’s food market in recent years. Currently 50 percent of brands on the market are produced by domestic firms. However, international companies still control 90 percent of this business.
(China Daily 04/04/2001)