BUSINESS

ULikeKorea, Sumitomo sign deal on Japanese pet care market

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Jan 21, 2021 - 20:45
  • Updated : Jan 21, 2021 - 20:45

Sumitomo Corporation Korea’s President Takuya Okada (left) and uLikeKorea’s CEO Kim Hee-jin (ULikeKorea)
ULikeKorea on Thursday announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Sumitomo Corporation Korea to develop a health care tracker chip for pets in Japan.

While existing microchip implants for dogs and cats reveal their identification serial numbers and can be used to trace lost animals back to their families, the proposed new product could enable real-time monitoring of an animal’s body temperature and activity levels through a mobile application. With this information, pet owners could detect illness earlier, which in turn could dramatically cut down on medical costs, uLikeKorea’s CEO Kim Hee-jin said.

“We will focus on platform development and commercialization, together with Sumitomo Corporation Korea,” Kim said. “Our goal is to bring forth a differentiated pet-tech and agritech service, through which we serve animal welfare and care for the health of animals closely related to human life.”

Japan’s market for companion animal health care amounts to 16 trillion won ($14.5 billion), according to uLikeKorea, and the proposed chip could open up a blue ocean. Korea’s pet care market is only one-fifth of Japan’s in volume, according to Japan’s Yano Research Institute.

The proposed size of the chip and how it will be implanted in pets have not yet been decided, but uLikeKorea told The Korea Herald that the battery in the chip can last a year and then self-recharge.

The self-recharging technology is what the memorandum with Sumitomo is for, and details on that matter cannot be revealed, uLikeKorea said.

Pet-tech is a rising industry where artificial intelligence and internet of things technologies are combined to produce products intended for pet care.

Surefeed of the UK, Fujitsu of Japan and Litter-robot of the US are among the companies that have taken advantage of the trend.

ULikeKorea plans to establish a footing among global players with over 500 million points of big data gathered from livestock such as cows, camels, sheep, horses and chickens.

The company first started out with LiveCare bio capsules that can wedge into a cow’s first stomach and send out information on the cow’s body temperature and fertility signs through the built-in IoT device.

ULikeKorea uses these vital signals from animals to create a deep learning database on livestock diseases.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)


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