They’re not sim­ply pet projects: An­i­mal ser­vices in Tai­wan

The China Post - - BUSINESS - BY GARY CHEN

Pets are now treated as fam­ily mem­bers in Tai­wan as chang­ing de­mo­graphic trends, such as aging is­sues, lower birth rates and de­layed mar­riage take ef­fect. This leads to a ris­ing pet pop­u­la­tion, of dogs and cats in par­tic­u­lar. Ac­cord­ing to Tai­wan City An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion Of­fice (APO) statis­tics, in De­cem­ber 2013 the adop­tion rate for dogs and cats was in­creased to 75 per­cent af­ter the movie “Twelve Nights,” a touch­ing Tai­wan an­i­mal pro­tec­tion movie, was shown in cine­mas in Novem­ber 2013. This movie also had the ef­fect of re­duc­ing the aban­don­ment rate by 3.4 per­cent to 5.7 per­cent; this is an­other rea­son for the in­creas­ing dog and cat pop­u­la­tion.

Pet own­ers seek en­ter­tain­ment, beauty and health from their pets and pay for qual­ity pet food and prod­ucts for their pets. This drove the growth of Tai­wan’s pet mar­ket in 2013 to 9 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional pet care re­port. Pet own­ers are will­ing to spend more on pet health prod­ucts, qual­ity pet food, beauty and pet ac­ces­sories, which boosts the sales vol­ume of pet-re­lated prod­ucts and ser­vices. The Global In­dus­try An­a­lysts’ fore­cast on global pet food in 2017 pre­dicts sales of US$9.75 bil­lion, as well as that Tai­wan’s pet mar­ket will reach NT$50 bil­lion, there­fore the pet mar­ket in Tai­wan is ex­pected to reach higher growth rates in the near fu­ture.

The num­ber of reg­is­tered pet ac­com­mo­da­tion lo­ca­tions in Taipei in 2014 was 57. Six­teen reg­is­tered pet ac­com­mo­da­tion cen­ters opened from 2012 ac­cord­ing to the APO’s statis­tics. This is be­cause pets are not al­lowed into many restau­rants, ho­tels and other lo­ca­tions, thus pet own­ers have to seek ac­com­mo­da­tion for pets for short time pe­ri­ods. This im­plies that more pet ac­com­mo­da­tion and pet-wel­com­ing restau­rants are ex­pected to open as well as an in­creas­ing pet va­ri­ety of pet ser­vices, such as pet groom­ing, ac­tiv­i­ties and fresh food for those lit­tle hairy kids ( ).

The pet busi­ness star­tups could ex­plore new pet ser­vices, such as pet day care for those dogs with sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety, pet gym­na­si­ums for those over­weight pets and or­ganic pet food to sat­isfy pet own­ers’ de­mands. The star­tups could also have a strate­gic al­liance with other in­dus­tries, for ex­am­ple, a pet cafe serv­ing pets and cus­tomers while sell­ing pet food and ac­ces­sories for low­er­ing costs and in­creas­ing con­ve­nience for pet own­ers. Per­haps the mul­ti­func­tional an­i­mal shel­ters or malls, as in­te­grated stores, could be an ideal way to sat­isfy the pet own­ers and other cus­tomers’ de­mands all at one time. Gary Chen is a public re­la­tions of­fi­cer at TIER

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