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Asia Venture Capital

Dogs (and Cats) Are Next Big Thing for China’s Hillhouse

Hillhouse Capital Group, one of China's most prominent venture capital and private equity firms, struck gold by investing early in today's tech giants including Tencent, Didi Chuxing and Meituan. Now it’s added a new focus: pets.

The firm has acquired more than 500 veterinary clinics, including five pet hospital chains, over the last three years in a move to build and run one of the biggest national groups in China, according to current and former employees. Hillhouse declined to comment on the size of its investment but a person with knowledge of the matter said the firm had spent $475 million on the clinics in the past two years. China’s changing demographics have created a growing demand for pets as its aging population turns to four-legged critters for companionship and young people delay getting married and having kids.

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“Providing educational and practical training is very important for this fast-growing industry, and it’s more important than just pouring in money,” Ms. Peng said.

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“Most of our animal hospitals are making profits. The big ones are making hundreds of millions of yuan per year.”