A wedding ceremony held for two cats at the Shanghai Normal University. (Photo: Shanghaidaily/Ti Gong)
Residents of Guangdong province are raising the most pets of any province on the Chinese mainland, tallying more than 10 percent of the 100 million pets registered nationwide, a recent survey reported.
One in every 13 people in China is raising a pet, on average, with dogs and cats accounting for about 80 percent the total, though tortoises have been seeing a rapid increase in the recent years.
Guangdong is followed in pet popularity by Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing and Shandong, said the survey by Zhongjinqixin, an international information consultant in Beijing.
Among cities, Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, is among the top five in pet ownership on the mainland. The others are Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Wuhan.
The number of pets is expected to keep growing at an annual rate of at least 10 percent in the years ahead, said He Yinjin, the head of the survey organization.
The United States, for example, has registered more than 400 million pets, 1.3 times more than the country's population, He said.
Among pet owners, nearly 62 percent raise dogs, more than 19 percent raise cats and more than 6 percent have tortoises at home. Other popular pets include fish, rabbits and birds.
"Many residents are now raising tortoises as pets at home, as tortoises indicate longevity in the minds of Chinese," said a man surnamed Li, who lives in Guangzhou, and has been caring for a pair of tortoises for the past three years.
"My family has treated the tortoises as our family members," he said.
Pet ownership is increasing despite the costs. The survey found that 11 percent of Chinese families spend more than 10,000 yuan ($1,574) annually on pet care, while about 32 percent of families spend from 1,000 to 3,000 yuan annually.
Industry insiders have forecast the mainland's pet industry revenue at more than 15 billion yuan in 2015.
Most pet owners are younger than 45. The survey found that 6 percent were younger than 25, 37 percent were aged between 25 and 30, 24 percent were between 31 to 35 and 18 percent were aged 36 to 45. Those older than 45 were just 8 percent of the total.