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Maker of collectible toys goes full steam ahead to meet growing global demand

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:49
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Consumers shop at Pop Mart's first Paris store. CHINA DAILY

Pop Mart, a leading Chinese maker of collectible toys, recently opened new stores in France and Australia, as part of efforts to expand its global presence and fuel revenue growth.

On April 5, Pop Mart opened its first pop-up store at France's largest department store group, Galeries Lafayette. The pop-up store held the global first release event of "Skullpanda", its top intellectual property offering, attracting a large number of French consumers with a variety of interactive activities, the company said.

The pop-up store is aiming to bank on tourists visiting Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games in July, said the company.

With the official opening of the Galeries Lafayette pop-up store, Pop Mart has opened three offline stores in Paris.

On Feb 26, 2023, Pop Mart's first store in France officially opened in Place de la Sorbonne in Paris, with the store design integrating several local cultural elements.

The company offers a variety of limited-edition trendy toys and on-site creative interactive activities for European fans, such as Zimomo, and painting creation experiences.

"This year, it is important for us to develop the French market, thanks to the world-class sports event and because it is a mature toy market. In the future, we plan to open more stores in landmark areas to continuously attract young consumer groups in Europe," said Alan Mai, director for Australian and European markets at Pop Mart.

A tailor-made and localized strategy for the European market will help Pop Mart win more consumers on the continent, which is home to diverse cultures, said Mai.

As the center of regional cultures, Paris will amplify the influence of the Pop Mart brand worldwide, Mai added.

Meanwhile, on April 5, it opened its ninth store in Australia at the Macquarie Centre in Sydney. The company, which entered the Australian market in 2021, now operates 16 roboshops and one digital commerce channel.

Founded in 2010, the Beijing-based toy producer aims to become a leading global cultural and entertainment company. It has built an operating platform covering the industry chain of trendy toy IP incubation and operation, product development and retail, theme parks and experiences, and entertainment.

In 2018, Pop Mart began to develop its overseas businesses and shifted its focus to direct-to-consumer in 2022, opening directly operated offline stores in several cities across the world.

With the continuous expansion of online and offline channels, its brand and products have gained global influence.

As of end-2023, the company had opened 80 stores (including joint ventures) overseas, and the number of roboshops had reached 159.

According to its latest financial report, annual revenue from overseas businesses in 2023 increased 134.9 percent year-on-year to 1.07 billion yuan ($147.8 million), accounting for 16.9 percent of the total revenue.

In 2023, Pop Mart entered France, Malaysia, Thailand and the Netherlands for the first time.

The company's domestic business is also growing.

Pop Mart posted a 36.5 percent year-on-year rise in revenue to 6.3 billion yuan for fiscal year 2023, with net profit up 107.6 percent year-on-year to 1.19 billion yuan, according to the company.

In 2023, the company opened 55 new physical stores on the Chinese mainland. It closed 21 stores due to lease expiry and other commercial reasons. In effect, the number of physical stores increased from 329 to 363 in a year.

Pop Mart opened 123 roboshops last year. The total number of robot stores increased from 2,067 to 2,190 in the period.

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