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Pharmaceutical companies gain foothold in pet healthcare market

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A cat receives a rabies vaccination at a veterinary clinic in Seoul on April 10, 2017. Korea Times file
A cat receives a rabies vaccination at a veterinary clinic in Seoul on April 10, 2017. Korea Times file

By Kim Jae-heun

The Korea Rural Economic Institute predicts the size of the domestic market for pet products and services to grow to 6 trillion won ($5.05 billion) by 2027. Riding on this trend, new services and products related to pets are being introduced every month. They include pet foods, appliances and care and funeral services.

Local pharmaceutical giants like Yuhan, Daewoong Pharmaceutical and GS Pharma are launching medical products for pets. Yuhan secured a stake in the pet-related healthcare firm Neodin BioVet on Nov. 18. Yuhan plans to produce veterinary medicine and diagnostic kits and offer diagnostic test services for animals.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical also acquired stakes in Daewoong Pet, which produces new animal-related drugs and online medical services. GS Pharma established a specialized pet medical service firm called "Green Vet" in March and signed an agreement with KH Medical on Nov. 3 for the research and development of diagnostic tests for pets.

"The millennial generation tends to spend a lot of money as they perceive pets as part of their family. It is expected that the overall pet care industry here will bolster the sectors of animal medicine, surgery and diagnostic services," an industry source said.

The pet market in Korea has shown a steady growth of 8 percent every year since 2014 affected by demographic structure changes, such as improving national income levels, low birthrate and aging population.

The industry has been growing explosively since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as people started to work from home.

According to a survey released by Statistics Korea on Tuesday, about 3.1 million households here have pets as of November 2020. However, KB Financial Group's management research institute revealed through a study that the figure has doubled to 6.04 million this year.

Furthermore, nearly 50 percent of the study participants said they hope to have pets, which implies the market will continue to grow.


Kim Jae-heun jhkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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