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

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

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 per cent 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 per cent to 5.7 per cent; 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 per cent, 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 volume sales in pet-related products and services.

The Global Industry Analysts' forecasting on global pet food in 2017 predicts sales of US$9.75 billion (S$13.1 billion) as well as that Taiwan's pet market will reach NT$50 billion, thus the pet market in Taiwan is expected to reach higher grow rates in the near future.

The number of registered pet accommodation locations in Taipei in 2014 was 57.

Sixteen registered pet accommodation centres 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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