TAIYUAN, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Pet shops in Chinese cities are seeing more business as people go home for the Lunar New Year.
Each year the Spring Festival travel period, known as Chunyun, sees the world's largest human migration, as Chinese families gather for the country's most important holiday. This year's month-long travel rush is forecast to see 2.98 billion trips, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
But as the procedures to take pets home is quite complicated in China, many pet owners choose to have their companion animals stay in pet shops for the Spring Festival holiday.
In Beijing's Tongzhou district, a pet shop owner has asked customers to reserve the animal cages as early as possible.
"As we will see a big number of animals during the Lunar New Year, we advise our customers to book in advance," the shop owner said in her WeChat.
A similar situation can be found in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province.
In a pet shop in Taiyuan's Changfeng Road, half of the shop's 20-plus cages have been booked.
"The demand for pet fostering is huge during the Spring Festival holiday," the shop owner said. "Many shops are closed as shop owners go home for family gatherings, so it is difficult to find places to put the animals."
In China, keeping pets is a growing trend. The pet dog population in China reached 27.4 million, ranking third in the world after the United States and Brazil, according to official statistics.
The growing pet population has brought new opportunities. The pet care market in China is valued at 97.8 billion yuan (15 billion U.S. dollars), with pet food and snacks, daily supplies and daycare services being the top three segments, according to a 2016 report by China's online pet community goumin.com.
China has over 30,000 pet stores, about three times that of the United States, mostly in large cities, according to market research by the American Pet Products Association.
Spring Festival falls on Feb. 16 this year.