POP MART occupies an unrivaled position in China’s multi-billion dollar toy market. It holds 8.5 percent of the country’s toy sales, runs 85 Intellectual Properties (IPs), and hosts toy conventions from Beijing to Shanghai that regularly attract tens of thousands of Millennials and Gen Zers.

Its key product? Blind boxes, opaquely packaged collectable figurines often sold from one of POP MART’s 825 shopping mall toy dispensers known as roboshops. The vinyl figurines may only measure a few inches in height and cost less than $10, but they’ve spawned a multi-million dollar industry.

The trend has prompted a response from Chinese cultural institutions with the likes of the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, the Sanxingdui Museum, and the Palace Museum to creating their own.

JT spoke to POP MART’s Overseas Marketing Director, Jojo Lee, to understand more. You can read part one here.

Why do you think blind boxes have become so popular with young consumers?
A blind box allows people to buy something artistic and collectable for a dozen or so dollars. They allow young people to express artistic taste… it’s also about the happiness that art toys bring to their lives.

More than 58 percent of the blind box buyers are between age 18 and 29. Source: Pop Mart. Image: Peter Huang

Can you talk about the experience of visiting a POP MART store in China?
Our brick and mortar stores are mainly located in mainstream first and second tier cities and this means we cover a large number of young consumer groups. Our store space design and product display design allows young consumers to feel the charm of the art toys on offer and experience fun and shareable moments.

What about outside of the store?
We’re creating new fan experiences through a range of online and offline forms. We have mini games, offline pop-up stores, and toy fairs.

To what extent are POP MART’s products focused on tapping into Chinese cultural tastes?
Our products carry cultures from all over the world. Chinese culture is increasingly receiving attention from fans all over the world, and many of our products are designed in combination with Chinese history and traditional culture, this can broaden its understanding.

On August 31, M Woods Museum completed a new round of financing from Pop Mart. Image: M Woods

Beyond China, What are POP MART’s ambitions in the cultural sphere?
We are cooperating with a good many artists, museums, and brands all around the world. Since beginning to officially produce art toys, we’ve always wanted to promote this culture on a global stage. We’re delighted to see an increasing number of people and organizations get into blind boxes and art toys.

Additional reporting by Jiayi Li


Jing Culture & Commerce