BEIJING, January 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Recently, 52TOYS closed the industry’s largest funding round this year, raising 400 million RMB. Subsequently, news that “52TOYS plans to open 100 stores by the end of next year,” “to be the number one collectible toy brand in China“, and “to go public within two years”, followed one another.
For Toys and 52TOYS, CEO Chen Wei has its own plans.
“Each company has its own DNA. We have fun with toys and want to deepen this company”, Chen Wei says All Weather TMT.
Below are quick answers from Chen Wei:
All Weather TMT: Under what conditions did you create 52TOYS?
Chen Wei: Huang Jinthe creator of Slayers of the Three Kingdoms, and I founded 52TOYS back in 2015, and we were determined about where the company would stand in the market. 52TOYS should be a product brand, which has its own creative ideas, product lines, product portfolios and intriguing and competitive products. This is our core business and our primary objective.
All Weather TMT: The reputation of your intellectual property (IP) products such as LuLu the Piggy and Crayon Shin-chan predates the 52TOYS company. Why? I guess many consumers barely know 52TOYS.
Chen Wei: This is actually the result of several causes.
Consumers may have to buy products from the same brand several times before they can gradually keep that brand in mind. It’s called the consumer mindset, and it takes a course.
Next, it is important to create your own IP addresses. For example, when we sell Doraemon toys, the name Doraemon itself is retained, instead of 52TOYS. However, seeing our BEASTBOX and “MODERN ANCIENT” series, which will be released later, we will immediately relate them to 52TOYS.
In addition, the most important thing is to create direct sales channels, which is why we decided to open our own point of sale. When consumers see our directly operated stores in different shopping malls, they will be deeply impressed with 52TOYS.
All Weather TMT: How many SKUs do you currently have? How often do you launch new products?
Chen Wei: In 52TOYS‘existing IP portfolio, 33% is self-developed IP, 38% is copyrighted IP and 29% is IP derived from our collaboration with artists. Some products labeled with the kind of brands we deem decent are also sold in our own-operated stores, and they complement our current products, which represent more than 80% to 90% of our entire product range.
All Weather TMT: Is the key to success getting a well-known IP license, given that the products are IP-based?
Chen Wei: The first and most important is to distinguish the two types of IPs in the toy market: character IPs and content IPs.
A character IP refers to the image created by a designer, which impresses consumers on its own, but without any content. For example, LuLu the Piggy, Panda Roll, and Kimmy & Miki, which we launched, are all character IPs. Hello Kitty is the most typical and successful character IP so far across the world. Even without relevant cartoons, comics, or movies, people like it.
All Weather TMT: You just got funding from 400 million RMB, the largest in the industry this year. What are you gonna do with that?
Chen Wei: Mainly for three purposes.
First, our flagship products. Whether it’s product engineering, R&D, or improving access to more high-quality IP addresses, we will certainly invest more.
Second, the channels. We will optimize the existing terminal stores that cooperate with us, with the aim of upgrading more than half of them in product display, thus making consumers feel that our product display is prettier. We will also open more own outlets, more stores, the number of which should reach 100 by the end of next year.
Third, with part of the funds, we will support outstanding designers and artists, as well as promising projects, and expand our cooperation with them.
All Weather TMT: But it seems the growth of designer toys is getting slow in the consumer market, 70% of which is backed by these toys, if that’s correct. Will the situation limit the outlook for the industry?
Chen Wei: As far as I am concerned, for the collectible toy and designer toy industry, POP MART has played a good role in enlightening the capital market, and even consuming, precisely by means of mystery art toy boxes.
All Weather TMT: What will become of the designer toy or collectible toy industry, in your opinion?
Chen Wei: In ChinaI think there will be several great brands that will survive in this industry.
But like I said, collectible toys can be so diverse, and many segmented businesses are going to grow.
The industry is still in its infancy and there will be a long way to go. It’s an industry that can incubate century-old companies and is something worthy of continued effort.