Archive | International

Boba Tie-Ins Bubble Up

Bubble tea, or boba—a creamy, tea-based drink containing tapioca pearls—was invented in Taiwan and has been spreading around the world, including into the U.S., where boba drink outlets are becoming ubiquitous at malls and elsewhere. The U.S. bubble tea market was forecast to reach $464.29 million in 2023, up 6.9% from $434.11 million in 2022, […]

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Mascot Mania

Sports and cultural festivals in China give birth to extensive licensing programs, often centered on a cute mascot, with the design of the mascots and the products often highlighting elements of traditional Chinese culture. These initiatives typically inspire hundreds and sometimes thousands of products sold through official shops near the venue and online through sites […]

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The Value and Variety of VTubers

Consumer interest in VTubers (“virtual YouTubers”)—which got their start in Japan in the mid-2010s—has expanded significantly since the start of the pandemic, both in these digital influencers’ country of origin and abroad. VTubers are anonymous creators who use motion-capture and other technologies to create an animated avatar, usually anime-like in style, that does everything a […]

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Characters Clean House

“Robot vacuums,” the small, self-propelled appliances of which the Roomba is the best-known example in the U.S., are popular in Japan, which is a leader in the manufacture and design of robots for industrial and consumer use and where small house sizes make the devices practical. And, as is the case with other small appliance […]

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Up a Creek Without a Padel

Pickleball has been one of the fastest-rising sports—in participation and licensing interest—in the last couple of years. But another up-and-coming racket sport, padel, is emerging in mainstream popularity and seems to have similar potential to pickleball. Padel, played with four people per team, is described as a cross between tennis and squash. It takes place […]

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Painting a Picture

One of the products in the gift shop at this year’s sold-out Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a licensed plush figure depicting Dick Bruna’s rabbit character Miffy as Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. This is the latest in a small but growing group of collaborations, mostly taking place in Europe or Asia, whose design inspiration […]

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Asian Designers Shine in New Year Collabs

Each year, more marketers—of various sizes, working across categories and geographic regions—have been celebrating the Lunar New Year with collaborations involving designers, artists, influencers, and other creatives based or born in China or other Asian countries. This year is no exception. Among the many examples for the 2023 Year of the Rabbit, which began yesterday, […]

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Tea Party

An estimated 450,000-plus tea and tea-drink shops were operating in China at the beginning of this year, according to the China Tea Marketing Association. These include both traditional tea shops and new-style shops focused on flavored milk, fruit, bubble, and even cheese teas, with new-style chains growing quickly over the past several years (despite a […]

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