Some Chinese affectionately refer to their pets as their “babies”. Like many mainland parents, they want only the best for their “kids”.
Chan and his wife are among them.
The couple live in Futian, Shenzhen. They have had a dog for only a few years but in that time, Chan has been coming twice a month to Hong Kong to buy dog food from his favorite pet shop in Mong Kok, according to Headline Daily.
In a country where concerns over health safety are rife, even pet owners — not to mention parents of small children — are wary about the quality of food sold in local stores.
Foreign brands usually have higher quality, but these are scarce and expensive in the mainland. They are widely available and cheaper in Hong Kong.
Chan’s dog got sick after eating food from a mainland pet store and developed skin problems afterward.
He spent more than HK$10,000 (US$1,290) to bring his pet back to health.
The experience led Chan to decide against buying pet food in the mainland and make the twice monthly trips to Hong Kong to ensure his dog would get quality food.
Mainland pet owners can buy imported pet food from local shops or through the internet but they prefer to come to Hong Kong for better deals.
Fromm, an American brand, is sold online at 450 yuan (US$72) per pack. The same product sells for HK$430 in Hong Kong.
Even with transport cost included, it’s still cheaper to buy it in Hong Kong, Chan said.
China’s quarantine regulations require approval for imported animal feeds before these can be brought into the country.
Then importers must clear customs.
Chan, who says he is not a parallel trader, gets around those regulations, as well as customs procedures, by packing the dog food — usually no more than 15 lbs. altogether — into small parcels.
So far, there have been no reports of shortages or rising prices of dog food, unlike infant formula and other baby products.
But if the pet food-buying trend continues, who knows what’s in store for the “parents” of Hong Kong dogs.
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