Pop Mart: China's mystery toymaker becomes multi-billionaire

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Pop Mart toysImage source, Pop Mart

A Chinese mystery toymaker has seen his wealth surge after his company was floated on the stock market on Friday.

Pop Mart, founded by Wang Ning, has grown rapidly to become a company worth around $7bn (£5.3bn).

The firm sells collectible figures for about $8 each in packaging that doesn't allow buyers to see what's inside.

Mr Wang owns around 50% of Pop Mart following the stock market launch in Hong Kong on Friday, and now has a net worth of $3.2bn, according to Forbes.

Beijing-based Pop Mart raised $674m from the share sale, which it will use to open more stores and expand overseas. It shares rose 100% higher in early trading after the stock market debut.

"Chinese are stressed over long hours but face low pay at work and unaffordable housing prices, so they look for cheap forms of entertainment and purchases," said Shaun Rein, managing director at China Market Research Group.

Pop Mart sells its products in 21 countries outside China and says its customers are mostly aged 18 to 35, while 75% are female.

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"Young Chinese like cute items to decorate their desks and homes. The surprising nature of what one gets also excites consumers,"Mr Rein added.

China's millennials spend more on mystery toys than any other hobby, including designer shoes and e-sports, according to a report from e-commerce platform Tmall, which is owned by Alibaba.

Market leader

Pop Mart, the market leader, saw its revenues triple last year to 1.68bn yuan ($256.8m), according to its prospectus. It has licensing deals with Walt Disney and Universal Studios and also sells products from third-party suppliers.

Research firm Frost & Sullivan says sales of pop toys, a mix of pop culture and trendy content, amounted to 20.7bn yuan in China last year.

Mystery toy boxes trace their origins back to Japan's vending machine capsule models, known as Gashapon.