CHENGDU, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Urban residents in China are estimated to spend a total of 202.4 billion yuan (about 28.8 billion U.S. dollars) on their pet cats and dogs in 2019, up 18.5 percent year on year, according to a report jointly published by Goumin.com and Pet Fair Asia.
The number of pet dogs and cats kept by urban residents in China is projected to reach nearly 100 million, an 8.4-percent increase from a year ago, according to the study on China's pet industry.
People born after 1990 are the main consumers, it noted, adding that the proportion of pet owners with high incomes and educational backgrounds has risen further.
Ms. Hou, 28, lives in the city of Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province. She spent 6,000 yuan on her two cats last year, with food the greatest expense.
"I purchased tinned cat food from the United States, New Zealand, Japan and Thailand, and meat paste made from drumsticks, ox liver and pork to provide better nutrition and flavor," said Hou.
"If I have time, I cook for them with recipes I find online," she said.
"An aging society and fewer children are among the main reasons for more Chinese to keep pets," said Liu Xiaoxia, chief executive officer of Goumin.com, an online pet community with over 19.2 million registered users.
"Keeping pets has met the emotional needs of many Chinese, our report showed that almost 60 percent of pet owners view their animal friends as their own children," said Liu.
Rising incomes have also seen pet owners spend more on their furry friends. A report from Euromonitor International showed pet owners in China not only opt for high-end pet food, but also are spending more on hygiene products, clothing and furniture.
Euromonitor International predicts that China's pet consumption market will grow at an average annual rate of 18.2 percent in the next five years and will account for more than one-eighth of the global market by 2024.