BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Increasing awareness of the health and well-being of pets among Chinese owners has seen the pet clinic market boom at an unprecedented rate, particularly in the past five years, China Daily reported Thursday.
Currently, there are 12,000 pet hospitals in China and more than 10 percent are chains from established brands. Also, there are more students choosing small animal treatment as a career, Liu Lang, president of Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association and a senior vet for more than 30 years, was quoted as saying by the paper.
He said there are about 1,600 students graduating with degrees in veterinary medicine every year, and those pursuing careers in pet clinics have gone from less than 10 percent a few years ago to about 40 percent today.
But many owners are experiencing difficulties finding the right vets and clinics in a young market, more so in lower-tier cities. Common concerns include the qualifications of vets, nontransparent charging and the lack of regulation, the paper reported.
An industry report by Goumin.com, one of the biggest online communities for pet owners in China, said there were 91.5 million pet dogs and cats in China in 2018 and the market value of the pet industry reached 170.8 billion yuan (24.84 billion U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, some 47.1 percent of owners expressed frustration at the lack of medical services for pets.
The lack of regulation and industry standards have led to problems, and that was due to the short history of the Chinese pet clinic business, Liu was quoted as saying by the paper.
"Only in the 2000s, the industry entered a development phase, and people started to think about the medical equipment and treatment market," he said.
According to Goumin's report, the market value of the pet industry in China will reach 188.5 billion yuan in 2020 with an average annual growth rate of 30.9 percent from 2010 to 2020.
As people become more willing to spend on their pets, the market is expanding to include not just clinics but also facilities and services such as magnetic resonance imaging and beds for worried owners so they can stay overnight with their pets.
As the market for professional pet care matures, the demand for machinery and medical equipment grows too, which is good news for manufacturers of medical equipment, according to the paper.