Monday, March 4, 2024
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In China, pets, new darlings of the golden youth

In the center of Beijing, a few hundred meters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a new kind of shopping center has just opened its doors. The Box, that’s its name, hosts only brands aimed at the trendy Chinese urban youth. You can buy fluorescent caps, ultra-short shorts or, on the contrary, ultra-long T-shirts, but also learn to skate and play basketball, all with a background of techno music.

One of the biggest stores in this gallery is none other than Marsmart, a supermarket that only sells products for pets: collars, leashes, litter boxes, but also vests, slippers, dress shoes, caps, sun screens, nappies, organic food, customized drinks – including special water for dogs and cats –, shower trays…

There are hundreds of references there. “After Shanghai, the ‘pet culture’ [culture des animaux domestiques] arriving in Beijing »observes the representative of Sputnik, a Taiwanese brand specializing in T-shirts, frisbees, bowls and headgear for dogs, who came to witness the opening of this neon orange space.

About 1,600 kilometers from the capital, in Wenzhou (east), this development has not gone unnoticed. For twenty years, Shuitou, 120,000 inhabitants, one of the municipalities that make up this huge urban area known for the business acumen of its inhabitants, has gradually specialized in this niche. “In the beginning, my father worked in leather. But in the 1990s, customers started asking us for collars and leashes. From now on, we also manufacture dog vests, and we are starting with the car cushion »explains Nick Wang, the head of UnitePet, a company that employs up to one hundred and ten people.

Also read: In China, the city of Hangzhou is waging war on dogs

“Until now, we have primarily worked for Americans or Europeans. We supply brands such as Auchan. Not only [l’ex-président des Etats-Unis, Donald] Trump raised taxes by 25%, but the Chinese market is growing exponentially. I really need to pay more attention to that.”recognizes this 43-year-old former doctor, who serves green tea and looks at the screen that allows him to constantly monitor the workshops located above his desk.

Winning strategy

A few blocks away, Pan Chunbin has the same reasoning. For a long time, the deputy director of PetPal, a company specializing in pet food, was only targeting the foreign market. A winning strategy: PetPal floated on the Shenzhen stock exchange in 2017, and thanks to its factories in Vietnam and Cambodia, which employ three thousand people, this group of five thousand employees circumvents US trade sanctions.

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