ITOCHU Announces Development of Intellectual Education/Childcare Business in China with Shufunotomo and PPW in Hong Kong

December 5, 2019

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has concluded an agreement with Shufunotomo Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; Kenzo Yazaki, President; hereinafter “Shufunotomo”) and PPW Sports & Entertainment (HK) Limited (headquartered in Hong Kong; Ivan Chan, CEO; hereinafter “PPW”) to establish a joint venture company in Hong Kong and commence development of intellectual education/childcare-related business in the Chinese market.

Throughout its 100 years of operation, Shufunotomo has published a range of books and mooks (similar to magazines, but intended to remain on bookstore shelves for longer periods) for practical use in childcare, cookery, health, beauty and interior design, and other genres, as well as women's magazines, including “Ray,” “GISELe” and “You You.” It also focuses on the development of content distribution and other related businesses, with a view to boost the publication industry. Especially for the intellectual education/childcare category Shufunotomo developed from “Baby-mo,” a successor to its groundbreaking childcare magazine in Japan, “Watashi no Aka-chan” (which means “my baby,” first issue published in 1973), its publication of “Hajimete no Mama & Papa Series” (New Mamas & Papas Series) circulated over 820,000 copies, and “Atama no Iiko wo Sodateru Series” (How to Raise a Smart Kid Series) published over 680,000 copies, highly rated by people raising children.

PPW expands its business for apparel and daily use products in the Chinese market and is also widely developing its licensing business for items from mascot characters to content. Prior to this agreement, ITOCHU and PPW had already formed a brand license business relationship and were discussing the development of a new business using Japanese content in the Chinese market. Recently, their vision matched Shufunotomo’s objectives for strengthening its online presence using its own content as well as pursuing overseas business expansion, resulting in the conclusion of an agreement to establish a joint venture company.

For this development of the intellectual education/childcare-related business in the Chinese market, Shufunotomo created a new IP (intellectual property) character. Using this character, the companies will begin distributing intellectual education/childcare content on social media and video sites, childcare-oriented portal sites and by other means by the end of 2019. Moreover, from 2020 onward, the companies will sequentially expand their businesses through the sales of licensed merchandise, such as miscellaneous goods and toys, as well as Japan-made baby care goods, and also through licensed development of Shufunotomo’s intellectual education/childcare-related publications in China. In the future, by maximizing ITOCHU’s brand business know-how, Shufunotomo’s content creation experience and PPW’s rich network within China, the companies aim to expand intellectual education/childcare business in China.

Childcare content and IP character planned for distribution