Fluffy Labubu monster’s Thailand tour a sign of surging Chinese toy trend in Southeast


Labubu’s tourism campaign in Thailand also aligned “perfectly” with the government’s policy to facilitate travel for foreign tourists by waiving visas for those travelling from 93 countries and territories, it added.

“This includes Chinese tourists, who are an important group for the Thai tourism industry, allowing them to stay in Thailand for up to 60 days.” 

In January, Thailand and China signed a mutual visa waiver agreement to facilitate travel and tourism between the two countries, which came into effect on Mar 1. 

On Monday (Jul 8), Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanit said that the monster mascot’s trip is expected to help Thailand reach its goal of 8 million Chinese visitors this year. 

According to local news outlet Nation Thailand, he added that the Labubu campaign would drive arrivals of Chinese tourists towards the target after 3.5 million visited the country in the first five months.

SUCCESS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Other Chinese toy brands, apart from Pop Mart have also seen massive success in Thailand. Global Times reported that in December last year, 52TOYS opened its first store in the country and saw its first month’s revenue reaching 3 million yuan (US$412,540). 

Like Pop Mart, 52Toys has collaborated with other existing franchises and characters such as Tom and Jerry, Disney, and Manga series Crayon Shin-chan as part of their collections. 

The brand said that Thailand has become a major market for Chinese toy brands to expand overseas, mainly due to the high population of young people in Thailand and their strong consumption power, as well as existing popularity of such toys and prevalence of local designers in the Thai market. 

Currently, Pop Mart has 18 physical outlets across Southeast Asia, with seven outlets in Singapore alone. President of Pop Mart’s international division Wen Deyi told Global Times that the brand expects Southeast Asia to become its “fastest-growing market”. 

Labubu’s popularity has also reached Singapore. Last month, Pop Mart launched a limited edition Merlion Labubu keychain exclusive only to Singapore. The keychain, which has since sold out, was retailed at S$37.90 (US$28.07). 

However, listings on e-commerce platform Carousell saw the keychain resold at prices as high as S$300, nearly 10 times more than its original price. 

Labubu isn’t the only character driving Pop Mart’s popularity. Last year, the toy brand hosted its first POP Toy Show outside of China in Singapore. The event, which ran for seven years in Beijing and Shanghai, is set to return to Singapore in August. 

The brand’s success has potentially spurred on competitors’ ambitions. 

Speaking to Global Times, 52TOYS believed that it was necessary to enter the market in Singapore, in order to establish a presence in Southeast Asia. 

The toy brand explained that Singapore has “influential and radiating effects” on the region, and 52Toys can expand its presence in Southeast Asia through Singapore’s market. 



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