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The world embraces furry friends

We look at the changing attitudes towards cats and dogs in China and see how its growing pet industry compares to the U.S.

April 30, 2020


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Pet adoptions are spiking as Americans seek company while shelting-at-home. Yet this desire for four-legged companionship is not just a quarantine fad but a continuation of global growth trends.

Americans really love their pets! They spent US$96 billion in 2019, 5% more than 2018. In comparison, the Chinese spent much less, an estimated US$29 billion in 2019, but with a growing market of almost 20% a year for the last decade. According to Liu Xiaoxia, the CEO of the Chinese online pet community, this growth is due to "an aging society and fewer children."

Some in China lavish attention on their dogs, but not all get such care. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival generates international outcry each year over the slaughter of 100,000 dogs. As more Chinese have pets, public attitudes towards some animals are changing. Shen Jianhua and her daughter have been rescuing strays for ten years. Earlier this month, the PRC upgraded the status of dogs from "livestock" to "pets" and the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned the consumption of cats and dogs.

Would you prefer to grab a coffee at the cat cafe in Hong Kong or relax in the dog themed town in Zhejiang?