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Toby Black chases Hello Kitty in China

Hong Kong fashion brand Azona (Asia)’s cartoon character Toby Black is proving popular in Mainland China.

Dubbed Hong Kong’s answer to Hello Kitty since 2006, the character has appeared on many of the firm’s products, and was licensed under Toby World Limited since late last year. The firm developed partnership with multiple European brands at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show last January.

Toby Black has more than 1.2 million fans on Tmall, sells on all major online e-commerce platforms, and has a presence at school and university events throughout the territory.

“We have an extensive online and offline sales network and experience in product development and have sold hundreds of millions of products,” said Toby World Limited GM Florence Law in an interview with Hong Kong Means Business

“Licensing has taken off in the mainland market, with remarkable growth recently, and – hoping to reach out to other businesses – we established a subsidiary in December last year. We hope to use this to develop other products and roles through licensing.”

One of the firm’s products, a phone charger shaped as a cat’s paw, reached viral popularity since being used by leading Chinese actress Yang Mi.

“We try to cater to international tastes that respect the true spirit of design,” said Law. “Instead of simply copying the image and applying it to different products, we invest in model-making for unique products.

“Licensing helps to extend our business blueprint; next we hope to participate in areas like franchising, wholesale, theme parks and premium gifts.”

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