|▲ Korea Pet Industry Rental Association / President Lee Ki-jae|
SME Suitable, Win-Win Agreement, Market Surveillance and Distribution Industry Development Act are legal mechanisms introduced to protect small business owners. From as small as tofu and sauce stores to book and flower stores, owners get benefits from these legal supports.
With increasing number of people living with pet, pet stores appeared one by one from some years ago and have made steady growth in the share of street markets. 10 million people are estimated to have a pet and the volume of the market around 3 trillion won as of 2018 according to Korea Rural Economic Institute.
Seeing the growth potential, large companies are moving fast to take over the business and closure rate of small street pet shops are increasing. Feeling that they should not sit by and watch this, pet shop owners started to make their voice that pet stores must also be included in the SME Suitable. They also saw establishment of the Korea Pet Industry Rental Association three years ago.
The association recently has drawn a meaningful result from the Corporate Partnership Committee which listed pet industry in the Market Surveillance. It monitors expansion of businesses of big companies getting into the listed markets. Encouraged by this, the association is now pushing forward for the SME Suitable.
“Pet industry has been growing by the street pet shops as proved by the current 85% market share. It was 2010 that large on/off line stores started to take over these small business owners. As of now, the number of individual owners has been dropped to 25% and closure rate is still ongoing” explains the association president Lee Ki-jae.
Worse still, recent animal abandonment and abuse reported on the media is affecting pet shop owners badly. Some extremists on SNS strongly urge introducing pet tax and even ban of the market as a whole.
“There’s saying ‘one rotten apple spoils the barrel’. It is as that. And it is too much for us to take the whole blame of it. Majority of street pet shop owners are hard working daily bread and butter earners. In fact, animal abandonment and abuse is not only an issue in South Korea but many advanced countries also. In other words, it is not about the market that causes this horrendous act but individual owner’s attitude.”
Korea Pet Industry Rental Association is the first organization in the pet industry in South Korea and it protects rights of pet business owners and promotes sound pet culture. It is meaningful that there were no channels to make voice of pet shop owners before the Korea Pet Industry Rental Association was established through years ago.
One of the most splendid achievements of the association is running a pet goods certificate mark and a joint brand. It was introduced to secure trust of consumers on pet goods. For this, the association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FITI Testing & Research Institute for issuing pet goods certificate mark.
“The certificate mark is not compulsory as a fee occurs for the test and issuing a mark. However, pet goods with this mark can possible sell better as consumers tend to buy goods that have gone through safety and quality tests. The mark also helps small pet business owners compete with big brands with confidence.”
Korea Pet Industry Rental Association has 520 memberships as of 2020 and more is expected to knock the door.
“When we first set sail the association, even industry circles had a doubt whether it would change things. Now, the association has 520 memberships and the number has been steadily increasing. We will keep working hard on behalf of the 520 memberships as well as all small pet business owners.”
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