National

Japanese firms move to capitalize on pet boom in China

JIJI

An increasing number of Japanese companies are aiming to seize business opportunities from a pet boom in China.

DS Pharma Animal Health Co., a Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. subsidiary that makes drugs for animals, agreed with a Chinese company in late March on the launch of its anti-epileptic drug for dogs in China, the world’s second-largest pet market after the United States.

DS Pharma’s partner is Shandong Sinder Technology Co., a maker of animal medicine with which major trading house Sumitomo Corp. has a 25 percent stake.

The DS Pharma-developed drug, called Consave, is expected to go on sale in China in 2022 as the first anti-epileptic drug for dogs available in the country.

According to sources including Sumitomo Corp., demand for pets in China has been expanding in line with rising income levels and the aging of its society.

The number of pet dogs and cats in China, which has a population of nearly 1.4 billion, is believed to be around 90 million. The Chinese animal drug market is predicted to grow nearly sevenfold from 2014 to the equivalent of some ¥47 billion in 2020.

Among other Japanese companies, DoggyMan H.A. Co., a maker of pet foods and other products, has set up three sales footholds in Shanghai and Qingdao, a city in Shandong province.

Mitsui & Co. has been selling pet food and other items in China since 2010 through a local unit.

“The Chinese pet market is expected to grow further,” a Mitsui official said, noting that the proportion of people with pets is lower in China than in Japan.

Major Japanese electronics firms are also pinning high hopes on Chinese demand for appliances and products for pets.

Panasonic Corp. aims to launch products, including a compact air cleaner that can remove pet odor, this fiscal year.

Sharp Corp., a unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., released a toilet system designed to monitor the health conditions of cats in Japan in 2018 and appears ready to launch a pet-related business in China.

“There is no doubt that the Chinese pet market has great potential,” an official of the company said.