For over 50 years, DoggyMan has been keeping people and their four-legged friends happy
It all started with a dog named Sally. When Sally became ill and refused to eat, owner Akio Hayashi wondered what he could do to make his beloved canine companion feel better. Akio later gave her a piece of meat he bought for dinner, which the pooch happily devoured. That was the beginning of “Healthy Jerky”, a high-quality jerky for those who want only the best for their furry friends. But Akio didn’t stop there; in 1963, he founded Hayashi Seisakusho in Osaka and began to manufacture and sell high-quality pet products worldwide. The company later changed its name to DoggyMan H.A. Co., becoming one of Japan’s most popular manufacturers of pet food and supplies.
Akio’s son Yuichi Hayashi currently serves as DoggyMan’s chief operating officer and the duo are experts when it comes to keeping man’s best friend happy. Thanks to the company’s dedication to making the very best pet products, DoggyMan expanded its network overseas. Along with the Kansai Logistics Center (fittingly shaped like a giant dachshund), the company established offices in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and most recently Korea.
“We’ve been exporting our products to Korea since 1985, but we came to the country to gather and analyze the shifts in the industry because Korea is up to date with the latest trends,” says Yuichi. “We also wanted to spread awareness about our company in Korea because the pet-related industry is growing very quickly here.”
Last September, DoggyMan moved into the Invest Korea Plaza (IKP), Korea’s first business incubation center for foreign-invested companies. Thanks to KOTRA’s foreign investment promotion agency Invest KOREA, the company was able to quickly do business in the country. “Although it hasn’t been that long since we moved here, we’re really satisfied because the IKP building is incredibly clean and it’s great that we have access to information about Korea at any time,” he says.
As Yuichi notes, Korea’s pet-related industry is flourishing, with the economic slowdown having little impact on this sector. Thanks to the rising number of pet lovers, the domestic pet industry is valued at about KRW 1.81 trillion as of 2015. This market is expected to hit almost KRW 6 trillion by 2020. Korea’s premium pet food market is also enjoying significant growth—the sales of high-quality pet treats alone rose by 56 percent from 2013 to 2015 according to Korean e-commerce firm Gmarket. In addition, more people are looking to buy pet food made from natural and organic ingredients.
When asked what he thought about the future of Korea’s pet industry, Yuichi says that the domestic market really started growing in 2010. “It’s not just the manufacturing, distribution and sales of pet supplies that have seen exponential growth; now, various pet services are also expanding in scope,” he says. “People in Korea see pets as part of their family and we’re making sure that we continue to make safe, high-quality products for our local customers.”
Along with companies like DoggyMan, the Korean government is doing its part to nurture the industry and address the growing number of pet owners. The provincial government in Gyeonggi-do, for example, plans to establish a pet theme park in the city of Yeoju and invest KRW 35 billion into this project. It also announced that it will build a pet adoption facility and even a training school for pet handlers. Ulsan City is also jumping on this bandwagon, having finished the construction design in April to build a pet cultural center in the region.
So what’s next for DoggyMan? For starters, the company is planning to work closely with promising Korean companies to develop new products that will be loved by hounds and humans alike. But most of all, DoggyMan’s main plan is to continue carrying out its mission—creating a world where pets and people can happily live together. And we all have Sally to thank for that.
By Esther Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Executive Consultant/Invest Korea