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Pets Contribute to China's Economy

China, the world's most populous nation, has about 150 million pet dogs -- about one for every nine people -- suggesting yet another promising consumers' market in the country, according to the China Animal Agriculture Association's National Kennel Club.

An average Chinese city has about 100,000 dogs and gains about 10,000 per year, while large cities can have twice as many. Beijing had more than 500,000 pet dogs in 2004.

Behind the large pet population, analysts said, is a market with huge growth potential.

Pet owners in Beijing spend more than 500 million yuan (US$60 million) on their pets a year, according to the kennel club, and Shanghai seems to have a new pet shop open almost every week.

A purebred, well-shaped dog can sell as much as one million yuan (US$120,970), while the cheapest cost just tens of yuan.

Pet sales and services such as medicine, hairdressing and food are also emerging industries here.

Experts predicted that the annual sale of pet food and necessities in the country might exceed 6 billion yuan (US$726 million) by 2008.

They also predicted the market potential for the "pet economy" in China could reach a minimum of 15 billion yuan (US$1.81 billion).

(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2005)

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