VCs Mat­tel chase plans redto go hot full star­tups steama­head

Gi­ant toy firm sets out am­bi­tious plans for China growth

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By BLOOMBERG ByWANG ZHUO­QIONG wangzhuo­qiong@ chi­

Yang Dan, mother of a three-month-old son in Bei­jing, re­mem­bers re­ly­ing on an ar­ray of dig­i­tal apps for tips through­out her preg­nancy: What to eat, when to have a checkup and how to con­nect with Global other lead­ing ex­pec­tant toy moth­­ducer Ven­ture Mat­tel cap­i­tal­ist­sInc, owner­are nowof bet­ting renowned that brand­s­the Com­mu­nistin­clud­ing Party Bar­bie of and China’s Fisher-Price, de­ci­sion tois re­peal en­hancin­gits decades-oldits brand aware­ness onechild in pol­icy China will with cre­ate plans moreto de­mand­build more­for dig­i­tal Thomas ser­vices& like Friends those Town­sused byin ma­jorYang. Thecities pol­icy and changeby in­tro­duc­ing an­nounced the last year first has Chi­nese piqued char­ac­ter in­vestor in­ter­estto its 70-years-oldand led to train10 fundrais­ingstory. rounds Hai­leyWuin the Sul­li­van,first half se­nior for star­tups direc­tor in and the head ma­ter­nity ofMar­ket­ing and pe­di­atric­for Mat­tel mar­ket, Asia-Pa­cific, ac­cord­ing to said VC the Beat com­pany Re­search, will whichopen track­sits first in­ter­net Thomas health-re­lated& Friends in­vest­men­tTown in Chongqin­gand fundrais­ western “Luck­i­lyChina in with Oc­to­ber. the re­lax­ation Coveringof the an one-childarea of pol­icy1,200 last square year, me­ters, in­vestors the did be­comea­muse­ment more park en­thu­si­as­ticwill have in a host pur­suin­gof fea­tures,us,” said such Lian­gas Liang, theme chiefrestau­rants, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer mul­ti­func­tion­for Shen­zhen Easy­hin class­rooms Tech­nol­o­gyand an Co, ad­ven­ture the com­pany cas­tle. that de­vel­oped Mami“It is Zhi­dao,an im­mer­sivean app ex­pe­ri­ence that pro­vides­for kids online to walk con­sul­ta­tion­sinto the with town pe­di­a­tri­cians.and bring ThomasHis firmto rais­edlife,” she 100 said. mil­lion yuan ($15 mil­lion) Themedin March, parks from and in­vestor­splay zones in­clud­ing­have been Soft es­tab­lishedBank China by toy Cap­i­tal mak­ers and to Morn­ingside­bet­ter con­nect Ven­tures. with young con­sumers, such Chi­ne­seas LEGO’s con­sumers ex­plor­ing are avid cen­ters. users of dig­i­tal apps for ev­ery­thing“Such themed­from bank­ing fa­cil­ity to health­care,in­crease their and sales that ef­fi­ciency,” de­mand has spawned­said Du a Ji­aqi, vast re­search in­dus­try. China man­ager has 450of mil­lion Euromon­i­tor mo­bile de­vices In­ter­na­tional.for which 7,350 Chi­nese Sul­li­van com­pa­nies dis­cussed­have de­vel­ope­dthe amuse­men­tover 33,000park at mo­bilea cer­e­mony apps, ac­cord­ingto in­tro­duceto a a re­port­new from mem­ber China of In­ter­net­the Thomas Watch,& a Friends’ web­site fam­ily,that tracks Yong­bao online— statis­tic­sits first Chi­ne­sein the char­ac­ter.coun­try. Use

“The new mem­ber Yong­bao and his story will fur­ther pro­mote the Thomas & Friends brand from a more Chi­nese an­gle and helps the worldof healthto learn and about fit­ness China,” apps said grew Sul­li­ nearly 130 per­cent in In the ad­di­tion­past year,to ac­tu­althe sec­ond­fastest­toys, Yong­bao grow­ing­will also cat­e­go­rybe af­ter­fea­tured pho­tog­ra­phyin short an­i­matedapps, ac­cord­ingfea­tures to the and re­port,the which up­com­ing cited mo­tion re­searcher pic­ture Flurry of An­a­lyt­ics.the Thomas The se­ries Chi­nese early gov­ern­ment­next year, which­has said will that be al­low­ing screened all world­wide,fam­i­lies to haveshe said. two chil­dren is In likely ad­di­tionto add to three in­no­vat­ing mil­lion con­tent, new­borns the each toy year. maker Still, has a also baby di­ver­si­fied­boom isn’t its guar­an­teed.dis­tri­bu­tion Many by fam­i­lies col­lab­o­ra­tion find fur­therit too with costly JD.comto have since more 2013. than one child,By the and end the of gov­ern­ment2015, its five has ma­jor proved to brandsbe overly — op­ti­misticBar­bie, Fisher-Price,be­fore: the num­ber Thoma­sof new­borns& Friends,in Chi­naHot fell Wheelsby 320,000and Me­galast year— even have though launched the of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment stores had on be­gun,a par­tia­land have re­lax­ation seen of a the com­bined one-child growth­pol­icy in in 2013. sales of more than 150 Chi­nese per­cent. com­pa­nies fo­cused on Mat­tel dig­i­tal said health­care,that the rang­ingThomas from se­ries e-phar­ma­ciesis theNo 1 preschoolto online toy apps brand­for new for moth­ers, con­sumers raised ageda record two $1.5to four. bil­lion in the first half Du of of this Euromon­i­to­ryear, more In­ter­na­tional than dou­ble from said a year Thomas ear­lier,& Friends ac­cord­ing brandto VC Beat’shas grown re­port. rapidly Star­tups in fo­cused China on as ma­ter­nal­par­ents have health grow­nand child in­creas­ing­ly­care drew aware about $57of branded mil­lion, prod­uct­s­the sub­sec­tor due to their with safety.the most rounds of The fundrais­ing,train brand ac­cordingalso has to vis­i­blethe re­port. dis­plays at bricks and mor­tar In­stead toy of re­tail­ers pur­suin­gand its all di­ver­si­fied­kinds of customers,prod­uct de­sign re­cent from star­tups one “have train beento pack­aged pro­vid­ing trains more has tar­geted en­cour­aged ser­vices con­sumers or prod­ucts”,to ex­tend­said Mo their Reny­ing,pur­chases, an an­a­lyst said at Du. VC Beat. Among the But star­tups Mat­tel’s that other have brands, drawn such money as this Bar­bie, year: havean app un­der that per­formed­of­fers lec­ture in notes China by due pe­di­a­tri­ciansto wide rangeon top­ic­sof choice from in childthe mar­ket, psy­chol­ogy with to Ja­pa­nese build­ing dolls sleep prov­ing­habits. more pop­u­lar among An­other Chi­nese that chil­dren. fo­cuses on help­ing Mat­tel’s cou­ples mar­ket nav­i­gate share the ac­countsin-vitro fer­til­iza­tion­for 2 per­cent process,of toy sale­sand evenin China,one dig­i­tal ac­cord­ing ser­viceto statis­tic­sthat sells a from spe­cial­ized Euromon­i­tor washer In­ter­na­tional.for nurs­ing bot­tles. Chi­nese tra­di­tional toys and games had a mar­ket scale of 64.26 bil­lion yuan ($973 mil­lion) in 2015.


School­child­ren stand on the plat­form next to a life-sized Thomas Chil­dren­the Tank play Enginewith toysat Shinkanayaat a baby and sta­tion ma­ter­ni­tyin Shi­mada expo in in Shizuoka Yinchuan, pre­fec­ture, Ningxia west Hui of au­tonomousTokyo. re­gion.

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