China Consumer

Itochu enters joint venture to sell goods in Chinese baby care and maternity market

10, Dec. 2019

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HONG KONG, NNA - Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. will lead a joint venture to sell toys, books and childcare goods in China as it expects growth in the market.

Itochu will create the business by forming a Hong Kong joint venture with Japanese publisher Shufunotomo Co. and Hong Kong licensing company PPW Sports & Entertainment (HK) Ltd. Itochu did not disclose each partner’s stake in the venture nor did it specify a business model such as e-commerce or its own physical stores.

The joint venture will sell licensed fashion products, educational toys and made-in-Japan baby care goods. Its lineup will also include books on childcare published by Shufunotomo.

Itochu forecasts the maternity and baby care market in China will grow from 40 trillion Japanese yen ($368 billion) today to 60 trillion Japanese yen in 2020, a company marketing official told NNA in a phone interview last Thursday.

“The baby care and maternity market of China is expanding,” the official said. The trio will “start marketing before sales begin.”

To help the venture along, Shufunotomo aims to create within the next three weeks a business plan involving social media, an animated website and a childcare portal, according to Itochu’s website.