The Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi, known for their affordable smartphones, is making a foray into the growing pet economy with the release of a smart litter box for cat owners.
The self-cleaning litter box, which costs 1,499 RMB (217 USD), is kitted out with features like high-precision scales, large stool collection capacity, and a screen displaying pets’ biodata. Xiaomi claims that the litter box can take care of litter cleaning for 14 days in a row with no human input, an especially useful feature for busy young professionals who comprise the majority of China’s pet owners. Xiaomi previously released an automatic pet feeder, which users can pair with a smartphone app to remotely control dosage and timing of feeding.
Pet smart hardware, which also includes automatic feeders and drinking fountains, is a growing field that multiple other technology companies such as OPPO and Midea have already entered. Whilst most pet-owning households still use traditional feeding and cleaning methods, the pet industry on a whole in China is on a clear growth trajectory.
In tandem with rising living standards, pet ownership has increased from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2022. Pet-related consumption has also naturally increased alongside this, growing from 72.5 billion RMB (10.4 billion USD) in 2015 to 96 billion RMB (57.3 billion USD) in 2021. Given that the majority of pet owners are young educated urbanites comfortable with technology, pet tech in particular is ripe for development.
Technology companies like Xiaomi now have the opportunity to innovate within this field to drive market penetration of pet tech. Xiaomi has said their goal is to set the market standard for high quality products in pet hardware and accelerate the popularity of these products.