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Matchmaking pet owners flock to Shanghai

Matchmaking pet owners flock to Shanghai

Updated: 2012-03-16 21:22

By Shi Yingying (

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SHANGHAI - Pet owners are flocking to the 2012 Shanghai Pet Fair to advertise information about their dogs or cats in the hopes of finding them a partner.

With photos of cute pets posted on the huge whiteboard, this year's Pet Fair - from March 16 to 18 - has been turned into a popular matchmaking haunt. Take Tian Tian, a two-and-half-year-old male Bichon Frise as an example, notes written beside him said that he has three doghouses and has been looking for a considerate girlfriend for a while.

"We've prepared two Polaroids in advance to shoot the photo right on the scene, and it's not only a matchmaking spot but also a platform for the potential pet club— there are many owners of rare pets who are looking for people with the same kind of dog or cat experience to exchange with," said Xiong Qianfen, the organizer. She said that over 30 pet owners dropped by and took a phone number for their pets on Friday morning and there would be more this coming weekend.

Yu Fan, owner of a small pet shop in Shanghai, said she's a regular visitor to every year's pet fair and adores this year's new attraction. "I took a photo together with my teacup poodle and left the picture on the wall," said the 27-year-old girl who's looking for a life partner. "I wish to find someone for myself as well, who love dogs."

In the meantime, the rising cost of keeping pets in many large Chinese cities in tandem with high property prices didn't keep crowds from coming to the Pet Fair. One out of 15 Chinese people owns a pet, with an average pet costing 500 yuan ($74) per month, according to Zheng Qiwei, a pet business owner.

"There is great potential in the domestic pet market because pet owners in China pay increasing attention to their new family members," Zheng said.

His pet business includes pet shampoo, treats and snacks and these are readily available at supermarkets such as Carrefour and Wal-Mart.

"In 1996, pet owners had no idea what a cat or a dog should eat, and many of them were fed with leftovers. However, about six years ago, significant changes took place," Zheng added.