The market for pet products has been growing rapidly in recent years. According to research published by the China Credit Information Service (中華徵信所), the pet food industry alone will be worth over US$9 billion in 2017. In Taiwan, pet food imports were worth over US$31 million in 2001, but grown to over US$100 million in 2011. At the same time, the number of registered cats and dogs had remained stable over the same period. The China Credit research concluded that this indicated that Taiwanese were increasingly willing to spend heavily on their pets. This conclusion seems to be very much justified by the exhibitors participating in Pets Taipei this weekend, a massive show of pet related items that opens at the Nankang Exhibition Center (南港展覽館) today.
According to organizers, this will be the biggest Pets Taipei ever, with the number of participants growing by 35 percent from last year. This year’s show will have a total of 850 stalls with everything ranging from the most mundane daily requirements such as pet food and grooming equipment, to high tech equipment such as a Taiwan-developed laser acupuncture machine for dogs and cats and designer ceramic tableware to ensure maximum comfort for pets while feeding.
According to Jhenny Shu (許毓真) of Vetco Pharmaceuticals, the company was founded to commercialize a product that had been developed over 10 years of clinical research, and which had been found to be effective against a wide variety of tumors. Shu said that cancers had emerged as a leading cause of disease-related death in companion animals.
“The city environment and pollution can be carcinogenic agents for animals, and at the present time, cancers in animals can be very expensive to treat,” she said.
Other types of health services such as Melodog offer everything from Chinese medical treatment for pets, along with spas guaranteeing water quality that seems, judging from the company’s Web site, to be far superior to what humans have to cope with at most public swimming pools. The laser acupuncture for pets is also a service offered by Melodog, and according to their service representative, this treatment was very effective against chronic conditions, especially in older companion animals.
To keep track of pets, Qme, also a Taiwan-based company, has developed a digital tag that is easily scanned by most smart phones which can contain basic information about the pet and aid in reconnecting with its owner if the pet should get lost. Cofounder Renee Yeh (葉妍伶) said that this technology was much more accessible than computer chips, and could provide valuable information to people who found the dog, including any medical conditions, giving the dog a better chance to be returned safely to the owner.
For those worried about the afterlife, Feerie Pets Park offers columbarium services for deceased pets, who can be remembered in style, their ashes kept in elegant receptacles. With pets playing an increasingly important part in people’s lives, such services have become very important, said Regina Chou (周典瑜) of Feerie. “We offer this service as a pre-booking, because at the time when your pet passes on, you don’t want to have to deal with these arrangements. This way, it’s all sorted out beforehand.” These are just some of the more unusual of the pet related services that will be setting up stalls at Pet Taipei 2013, but every aspect of a pet’s existence is catered to at this massive show.