China’s pet healthcare sees robust growth

With pet ownership on the rise in China, the market size of the country’s pet industry has grown exponentially along with the increased demand for veterinary care.

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Chinese owners spent 122 billion yuan ($ 18.6 billion) on their pets in 2016, with a compound growth rate of 43.5 percent over the past six years. The figure is expected to exceed 240 billion yuan in 2020, according to statistics from the Research Report on the Development of China’s Pet Healthcare Industry.

With the continuous increase in the number of pets, the standard of pet diagnosis and treatment in China is also improving.

In terms of veterinary care, there are not only dentist, cardiopulmonary, dermatology, oncology, ophthalmology and other specialist clinics, but also high-end medical equipment normally used for humans, such as color ultrasound diagnostic set, CT equipment and even nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, which are usually only seen in tertiary class hospitals.

According to statistics presented in the Chinese Pet Industry White Paper in 2019, the total number of urban pets (cats and dogs) in China exceeded 99.2 million in 2019. In line with the growing number of pets is the rising number of pet hospitals.

Fu Ying, who has worked in Beijing for more than a decade, has opened a total of nine pet hospitals in Beijing, an average of two every year since 2015. The average investment cost of each of Fu’s pet hospitals, generally located in a residential community, is about 2 million yuan. Although they are not equipped with high-end inspection instruments such as nuclear magnetic resonance found in large hospitals, blood testers, ultrasound diagnostic sets, X-ray machines and other equipment are readily available.

According to the Research Report on the Development of China’s Pet Healthcare Industry, as of April 2019, there were more than 15,000 pet hospitals in China, of which non-chain hospitals accounted for nearly 90 percent, prompting the pet healthcare market to begin attracting investment.

For instance, in May 2018, Ruipai Pet Hospital announced that it had received 350 million yuan in strategic investment from investment institutions such as Goldman Sachs in the U.S.