Idol Hua Chenyu Storms China’s Toy Market With Tiny Lookalike

What Happened: On October 25, Chinese singer-songwriter Hua Chenyu’s brand, Born To Love, officially launched a collaborative pop toy doll of himself with nationally-renowned artist Han Meilin. Han is known for creating the Fuwa mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The doll, called Marsper Masterpiece No. 01, is the first toy creation for Hua’s nascent brand, founded earlier this year. The elf-looking collectible figurine has a wavy tail and is dressed in a black and white outfit that was inspired by Han’s calligraphic artwork, “The Sealed Book” (天书).

After its launch on streetwear marketplace Poizon on September 25 for limited pre-order, the toy doll sold out in one second, according to a statement issued by Born to Love. With a price of $191 (1288 yuan), the doll also sold out on Hua’s marketplace, Mars Space, by Monday evening in China.

Jing Take: Pop toys are all the rage in China right now, partially thanks to a boost from POP MART, a 10-year-old local toy & entertainment retailer that has taken off in recent years and is seeking a $600-million public offering in Hong Kong. The China toy market was worth $13.4 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $24.9 billion by 2024, as reported by the research company Research and Markets.

Hua’s team could be eyeing a piece of the multi-billion dollar toy market, while Hua’s fans only want a part of him. And based on fan reactions on Weibo — where the singer boasts 37 million followers — they seem thrilled to have acquired it. “Huahua [Hua’s nickname among his fans] and Marsper are cut from the same cloth!” So said a fan on Weibo, who marveled at the resemblance between the toy and the idol. Meanwhile, another female fan posted a selfie with the toy on her birthday, exclaiming that it was Hua and her.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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