Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Company Ltd. (Alpha), the parent company of Auldey Toys North America, has acquired U17.com, a Chinese platform for original comics and animation. Through this partnership, U17.com will convert Alpha’s animation, films, games, and other entertainment products to its platform.
The Uglydoll brand has secured a retail promotion partnership with KFC China through its Asia licensing agent Global Pursuit, which will see Uglydoll premiums distributed with kid’s meals at more than 4,000 KFC restaurant locations throughout mainland China. The KFC Uglydoll promotion is set to run through this month.
According to the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, China’s traditional toys—a category that includes dolls, educational toys, puzzles, electric trains, and toy musical instruments—saw a 1.7 percent year-over-year increase in exports, as well as a roughly 63.87 percent month-over-month increase for April. Exports totaled about $984.4 million, accounting for 64.4 percent of China’s total toy exports for the month.
Toy & Hobby China and Baby & Stroller China wrapped up on April 10 at the Poly World Trade Center Expo. The three-day events ran from April 8 to 10, and according to a report from the organizer, attracted 40,012 visitors and 1,001 exhibitors. This number was up 5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively, over the events’ previous editions.
Billy Lagor (BL): We have significant promotional activity surrounding Chinese New Year. This consists of a substantial range of marketing activity to engage our shoppers and consumers, similar to what happens during the holiday season in the U.S., and development of unique products designed with a Chinese New Year theme or to meet specific Chinese New Year product expectations. See below for some examples from the past two years.
Ubisoft will release a number of titles from its popular franchises for the PlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment system in China, where the PS4 console will be available starting on January 11. Ubisoft’s releases will include Trials Fusion and Rayman Legends: Rayman.
Trials Fusion will retain many elements from the original Trials game, while enhancing the experience with new game play elements, such as a physics-based trick system and new social features. As for Rayman Legends: Rayman, the latest installment adds new characters and environments, as well as an updated soundtrack.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) will launch its PlayStation 4 (PS4) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) in the People’s Republic of China on January 11. Along with the release of the two systems, SCEI will offer an after-sales service to ensure Chinese users have a smooth and positive experience on PlayStation.
Along with SCE Worldwide Studios, 70 third-party software developers and publishers plan to deliver a stream of software titles to gamers in China. In addition, a variety of titles created by Chinese game developers will be available on PlayStation.
In cooperation with modian.com and business partner Shanghai Oriental Pearl Suole Culture Development Ltd., SCEI will actively provide support to Chinese game developers to bring their content to PlayStation platforms.
Jakks Pacific Inc. and Meisheng Culture & Creative Corp. Ltd., a Chinese entertainment and cultural production industry group, have entered into a joint venture to provide Jakks licensed and non-licensed toys and consumer products to certain territories in China. The joint venture will include a subsidiary in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which is expected to sell, distribute, and market the products.
Jakks Pacific will provide dolls, plush, role play products, action figures, costumes, seasonal items, technology and app-enhanced toys, and more, based on its entertainment licenses and proprietary brands.
“Through our partnership with Meisheng, with their trusted name and strong foothold in the Chinese market, we are aiming to bring our diverse portfolio of toys and consumer products into the robust Chinese market to allow millions of families to enjoy our great brands and products,” said Stephen Berman, chief executive officer at Jakks Pacific.
In a statement, Xiaoqiang Zhao, the chairman of Meisheng Cultural & Creative Corp. Ltd., cited the joint venture with Jakks as advantageous to the development of the Chinese toy market.
Toys “R” Us plans to open approximately 90 stores, which include new, relocated, and licensed stores. They will be located throughout 21 of the 37 countries and jurisdictions in which Toys “R” Us Inc. currently has a presence through its wholly owned and licensed businesses. The list also includes the company’s first licensed store in Namibia, which opened in October.
Toys “R” Us’ most significant expansion plans for this year are in China and Southeast Asia, where it has already begun operating several of 22 brand-new stores in China and eight planned new locations in Malaysia. By the end of the year, Toys “R” Us will operate 76 stores in 35 cities throughout China.
The new stores that the company plans to open this year include both Toys “R” Us locations and a number of side-by-side formats, which combine Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us under one roof. Meanwhile, new store sizes vary by country and range from 3,000 to 45,000 square feet.
New and relocated store locations are scheduled to open this year in the following countries: the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Namibia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan.