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Creature Comforts and Pet Projects Create New Taiwan Trade Boom

Soaring number of domestic animals sees pooch pampering and cat care take off across Taipei.

Photo: Taking the lead: Taiwan moves to the forefront of domestic animal care. (Shutterstock.com)
Taking the lead: Taiwan moves to the forefront of domestic animal care.
Photo: Taking the lead: Taiwan moves to the forefront of domestic animal care. (Shutterstock.com)
Taking the lead: Taiwan moves to the forefront of domestic animal care.

According to Taiwan's Agricultural Council, some 1.71 million dogs and 567,000 cats are kept as pets on the island. Given there are around 8.47 million households in Taiwan, this means that approximately one in every three households has a cat or a dog. With the figures not even taking into account other domestic animals, the huge value of Taiwan's pet sector is more than apparent.

One Taiwanese business looking to capitalise on this local penchant for pets is Mobiusbobs, the company behind Pamily, a dedicated video community/app for animal lovers. Using the system, pet owners can video their pets, add stickers, background music and a number of post-production effects before sharing the finished files on the Pamily platform. The app can even help identify particular breeds of pets, while also acting as a forum for owners looking to share tips on caring for different animals.

Another digital innovation in the pet care sector has come courtesy of Tomofun, with the Taipei-based company launching Furbo, its interactive pet feeding and video monitoring system, in June last year. The system is said to be the most successful crowd-funded pet product ever.

For the less virtually inclined, a substantial number of Taiwan's restaurants and hotels have taken a more pet-friendly stance over recent years. At the same time a number of dedicated pet hotels have emerged. These are establishments that take in pets when their owners have to be away from home for any length of time.

Unlike the somewhat basic boarding service long offered by pet shops, which  tend to be rudimentary and lacking in stimulation, this new generation of establishments is clean and well-resourced, while being staffed by properly trained animal minders. Typically, they use only organic cleaning materials and seek to provide all pets with a spacious and stimulating living environment. For those who prefer that their pets are cared for at home, a number of dedicated pet-sitting companies are also now in operation.

With pet product trade fairs across Taiwan now said to be doing better business than ever before, it is clear that this US$938 million sector is set to deliver lucrative returns for the foreseeable future. As the expectations and requirements of pet owners continue to rise, however, there remain considerable opportunities for any company capable of catering to the nutritional, care and development needs of Taiwan's growing army of domestic animals.

Tammy Hsieh, Taiwan Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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