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From kitty cams to trot trackers, furkids worldwide are getting tech treatment

PET WEARABLES have joined the ranks of connected digital devices, riding a wave of pet-centric products that have begun populating the market globally.

Developers such as SUGA, PetPace, Fitbark and DeLaval have all begun producing devices that aim to bring pet owners closer to their furry family members. The devices come in a range of styles, such as smart collars, leashes and feeders, and function much in the same way as health trackers for humans. The devices can help owners monitor their pets’ health and food intake, with some developers planning to conjure a way to track a pet’s emotions.

The craze is particularly big in China – once derided as unnecessary and bourgeois during the Communist era, pet-owning has come back into vogue in a big way for the Middle Kingdom’s middle class.

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The market can only grow from here. United States-based Transparency Market Research says the market is now worth US$1 billion, but that number could rise to US$2.5 billion by 2020. SUGA chief technology officer Alfred Ng says China makes up five percent of the overall market for now.

“There are more than 10 million pieces of wearable products for pets sold in the Chinese market every year,” said Chen Xufeng, a developer with Guandong Lekong IOT Technology Co. Ltd. He thinks the market will grow by a quarter in the next few years.

Text by Samantha Cheh. Additional reporting by Reuters