As the internet has become more and more a part of our life, in China, so too have our furry friends.

According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, China has become the world’s third largest pet market. The country’s pet owners spent RMB 130 billion on animals last year, up 21.4% year on year (in Chinese).

Riding the internet wave, pet firms are flexing their muscle in eight sub-segments, including pet-related e-commerce, social networking, foster care, veterinary medicine, pet travel, and pet trading. In the pet e-commerce arena, Boqii (波奇) and E-pet (E宠) remain the top two players, while Mr.Bear (宠宠熊) has been striving to catch up.

The increase in the aging population coupled with continued economic development contributed to the rise of the pet market. China’s pet population reached 85.50 million in 2016, raised by over 30 million households, or only 7% of the country’s total. This signals that the Chinese pet industry still has huge growth potential. It is estimated that China’s pet market may top RMB 200 billion in 2020 (in Chinese). Upbeat about the growth potential, investors has been flocking to the sector (in Chinese).

Pet e-commerce site Boqii has snapped up more than US$ 125 million (in Chinese) from three funding rounds since it was founded in December 2007. Its investors include Goldman Sachs and China Merchants Bank.

One-stop pet service Leepet (乐宠网) saw its valuation rise to RMB 1 billion after raising US$ 100 million in five funding rounds over the past six years.

Mr. Bear (宠宠熊), a pet startup focusing on online sale of pet related products and offline pet care and pet hotels, has closed RMB 10 million funding and is now valued at RMB 100 million.

Pet social networking app Smellme (闻闻窝) won an aggregate RMB 47 million backing from investors such as Innovation-works, since its establishment in January 2013.