Beijing [China], May 26 (ANI): Chinese authorities are in a fix as they are finding it difficult to overcome the challenges of a declining baby population in the country as the growing number of millennium youth, especially women prefer owning pets instead of marrying and having kids due to unaffordable housing prices and high cost of child care, Inside Over reported.
The number of pet owners in China will reach 62.94 million in 2020, witnessing a rise from 62.8 million in 2019, Inside Over reported citing a 2021 White Paper released by China Pet Industry Association. Of the total number of Chinese pet owners, 88 per cent are women who are well educated and enjoying high income per annum, Inside Over reported citing a consulting firm PwC.
With regards to the number of pets, China's urban regions witnessed the presence of 100.8 million dogs and cats in 2020, witnessing a rise from 1.7 per cent in 2019 and a 10.2 per cent increase in 2018, Inside Over reported citing the White Paper. The White Paper estimated that the pet market will be worth 445.6 billion yuan (USD 70 billion) in 2023, Federico Giuliani said in the Inside Over report.
According to London-based international professional services network, Deloitte's report, the number of pet dogs and cats in China is fast approaching 200 million after their household penetration rose from 12 per cent in 2012 to 25 per cent in 2021. As per the news report, cats are winning more hearts than dogs, Inside Over reported.
According to the Deloitte report, the total number of cats stood at 96 million while there were 92 million canines as pets in China in 2021. Analysts have said that the trend of owning pets will receive support in China as more and more well-educated and high-salaried urban residents prefer to stay alone, abhorring marriages and having kids as the cost of living is high and working hours are very long in the country, according to Inside Over report.
The inclination is especially very high among people aged between 20-30 years. According to a survey of 2,905 unwed urban people aged between 18-26 conducted by the Communist Youth League in October 2021, 43.9 per cent of women had no intention of getting married or were unsure if it would happen.
Meanwhile, 24.6 per cent of males expressed their wish to remain single. Among all the surveyed people, there was one commonality that all of them treated their pets as sons and dogs. It has triggered a major concern among Chinese authorities as China has entered an era of negative population growth.
In order to fix the problem of declining population growth, Chinese authorities want youth to reverse the trend of remaining unwed and spending life with pets. According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the population of the country reduced by 850,000 to 1.41 billion people in 2022.
Since the 1990s, China's fertility rate has declined to below the replacement level of 2.1. According to several studies, rising costs of raising children and lack of welfare provisions have been significant factors for China's low fertility rate, as per the Inside Over report.
Fearing its effect on the number of working-age people, which will shrink beyond estimation, the Chinese government in recent years has started to offer incentives like tax breaks, subsidies for childcare and longer parental leave while discouraging singlehood among the young population, as per the Inside Over report. In China, couples are now permitted to have three children.
However, Chinese government's measures are falling flat and the nation's keen desire for a baby boom is not getting translated into a reality. Instead, urban areas of China are witnessing a pet boom. According to the Guangzhou based data mining and analysis organisation, iiMedia Research, China's pet industry is set to rise by 68 per cent to 811 billion yuan (USD 116 billion) by 2025, in comparison to 494 billion yuan this year. (ANI)