There is a boom in China in so-called pet wearables, like smart collars, leashes and feeders and electronic device makers such as Hong Kong-listed SUGA and other start-ups are looking to cash-in on this boom.
Gaining popularity again among the country’s growing middle class is pet ownership which was once denounced as a decadent and bourgeois habit after the Communist Party took power in China more than 60 years ago.
A GPS tracker that attaches to her dog’s collar was bought by Lia Yang Liu, 39, a lecturer in Chinese literature at a Beijing university.
“The device really helped me once, when I loosened the collar and he just ran out of the park,” said Liu. She is skeptical of other products though.
“I think the commercials just exaggerate the effects. I don’t believe devices can translate a pet’s language for us.”
Drawing developers and producers such as PetPace LLC, Mars Petcare’s Whistle Labs Inc, i4C Innovations, Fitbark and DeLaval, and according to some estimates, the electronic pet device is growing by a fifth or even a quarter every year even though the market in China is still quite small at present.
The U.S.-based market intelligence firm Transparency Market Research estimates that the global market for pet wearables is worth $1 billion at the end of 2016 and Alfred Ng, chief technology officer at Suga, estimates that China now accounts for 5 percent of that global market.
The Transparency Market Research estimates that the global market will be worth at least $2.5 billion by 2024 and Ng forecasts that China’s share of the market will jump to more than 20 percent by 2024.
Wearable tech that monitors pets’ health and food intake is manufactured by SUGA. A device to check pet emotions is also being eyed by it.
The China market in pet electronic devices is expected to grow 20 percent to 25 percent in the next two to three years, according to Chen Xufeng, marketing manager of Guangzhou-based software developer Guangdong Lekong IOT Technology Co Ltd.
“There are more than 10 million pieces of wearable products for pets sold in the Chinese market every year,” Chen said.
There are 300 manufacturers of wearable pet gadgets globally and almost half are based in China, said IDTechEx, an independent market research firm. It predicted the number will rise to 500 as the market expands.
Ava Lui, 33, has fitted her pets with collars that can monitor their activity and food intake, Ava, an IT professional in Hong Kong, has three cats and a dog.
“I just wish that they will never get sick, they won’t get hurt. The less I take them to see vets the more time I can spend playing with them. That would be ideal,” she said
(Adapted from Reuters)