Sanrio, the Japanese company behind the pop culture phenomenon Hello Kitty, has partnered with Alibaba Picture’s intellectual property (IP) licensing platform Alifish to drive growth in China and increase the local presence of dozens of anthropomorphic characters.
As part of a five-year master licensing agreement, Alifish will release products featuring the company’s stable of 26 adorable cartoonish creations beloved by consumers of all ages from 2023.
This includes iconic girl Hello Kitty, pastry-puppy hybrid Cinnamoroll and black-eared pooch Pochacco, as well as pink-bonneted rabbit My Melody and her arch-rival Kuromi.
“We are very optimistic about the huge potential of the Chinese market, and look forward to more connections and interactions with Chinese consumers,” said Kiyoshi Saito, President of Sanrio Overseas Business Unit, in a statement.
And while these Sanrio heavyweights remain among the company’s most recognizable brands, impish side-character Kuromi – easy to spot with a black and pink jester hat – unexpectedly rose to prominence over the last year among Chinese shoppers.
In fact, the rabbit’s cheeky and playful personality helped Kuromi rank third in popularity in China this year, according to a recent survey by Sanrio.
“The platform plans to develop and sell products based on all these characters while leveraging its own resources to provide consumers with high-quality IP goods ,” Wu Qian, Vice President of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group and President of Alifish, shared in an announcement last week.
The licensing platform has extensive experience with some of the world’s most recognizable IPs, from Japan’s Pokemon franchise to the Pac-Man video game series.
Alifish recently bagged a top industry award in Las Vegas for its collaboration with the Louvre Museum in Paris.
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This article was updated to correct the name of the Sanrio executive in paragraph four