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Pop Mart banks on its first global theme park in Beijing for growth

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-28 07:00
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Visitors gather at Pop Land, Pop Mart's first theme park, in Beijing on Tuesday. GAN NAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Pop Mart International Group, a Beijing-headquartered character-focused entertainment company and toymaker, opened its first theme park ever, in Beijing on Tuesday as it seeks its next growth driver and expands its business categories.

Located in Chaoyang Park inside the city's East Third Ring, Pop Land has displays of its top intellectual property characters including Molly, Labubu, Dimoo, Skullpanda and Pucky, retail shops, catering and interactive plays, in collaboration with Chaoyang Culture and Tourism Group.

Covering 40,000 square meters, the theme park centers on a renovated castle that used to be the wedding hall in Chaoyang Park and takes about a 20-minute walk to get through its four major zones. The company said there is a possibility of expansion of park areas for more interactive rides in the future if the current business goes well.

The ticket price is 180 yuan ($24.64) for peak days and 150 yuan on weekdays. Crowds rushing to the park and the store in the park to grab exclusive toys have shown strong demand.

The company has extended its business portfolio in recent years to include toys in IP incubating, exhibitions, games and visual content with an aim to create entertainment synergy.

Wang Ning, chairman and CEO of Pop Mart, told China Daily after the opening ceremony of the theme park that they expect to make Pop Land the Chinese answer to Disneyland.

"The park is a major milestone for our business," Wang said. "However, running a theme park business takes time and priority should go to operational management. Every detail matters," Wang said.

The CEO said it is not likely to open a second park very soon.

Compared with world-renowned theme parks like Disney, Universal or Legoland, Pop Land is relatively small in scale and investment, said the company, offering more lightweight immersive experiences with IPs rather than a high ratio of thrill rides.

"The reason to start this project at a reasonable scale is because we realize it is crucial to accumulate experience from operations," said Wang.

Hu Jian, general manager of Pop Land, said the resort offers visitors interactive opportunities with their beloved IPs and a platform to ignite interest and innovation in their trendy toys and figures. The targeted visitors are consumers in their 30s who are beginning to start a family.

According to its first half-year report this year, Pop Mart posted a revenue of 2.84 billion yuan, up 19.3 percent year-on-year, and a net profit of 535 million yuan, a growth of 42.3 percent. Its registered members totaled 30.38 million, after adding 4.38 million in the first six months. Its top three IPs Skullpanda, Molly and Dimmo have contributed to 46 percent of its total revenue.

Li Mengran, marketing manager at Utour, an online travel agency in Beijing, said Pop Land — a new trendy toy destination — is being well-received by the wide range of fans to Pop Mart's top IPs. "The mid-scale of the park and its IP-powered theme have injected new impetus into local tourism," said Li. "The fact that fans need to spend money on tickets will stimulate more retail sales for park-exclusive toys."

She said the park is expected to meet the challenges of managing crowds and queues by improving service efficiency. However, generating sustainable content — stories and characters — to support the development of the park and boost repeat visits is vital, said tourism experts.

Zhu Hong, a yoga instructor, and her 9-year-old daughter in Beijing are both fans of Molly, the lead character of the Pop Mart universe. Zhu has booked tickets for her family of three to visit the theme park on Oct 15.

"We cannot wait to visit the park where we can take photos with the figures, have some fun on the rides and buy our favorite toys," she said.

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