Toymaker Young Toys last week announced that it would go global with its latest product Biclonz, a robot-themed line of figurines.
Encouraged by the phenomenal success of its predecessor Tobot, the new motorbike-transformable-robot figurines will target the global market from the start, said Han Chan-hee, CEO of the 34-year-old company.
“We believe Biclonz has all it takes to be a global star: The kids thought the story was interesting and found the figurines a bit challenging and intriguing to manipulate,” he told The Korea Herald at the company’s press luncheon on Aug. 18.
|Young Toys CEO Han Chan-hee speaks to the press at a Seoul hotel on Aug. 18. (Young Toys)|
“We are currently in talks with several foreign buyers but we cannot reveal them due to a confidentiality agreement,” he said.
Biclonz ― a combination of “bicycle” and “clone” ― is a motorbike that transforms into a humanoid when fighting against extraterrestrial villains. An animated cartoon featuring Biclonz premiered on Aug. 12 on two local channels.
Encouraged by the cartoon’s positive reviews, Young Toys will sell the Biclonz toys at major discount stores nationwide from Aug. 31.
The biggest reason behind the attention focused on Biclonz is because it follows the path of “Tobot,” an animated series about a team of kids and their cars that together fight evil, market insiders say.
Tobot ― a car that transforms into a humanoid ― helped the company rake in 76 billion won ($75 million) in sales last year, more than 10 percent of the 670 billion won domestic toy market. Tobot is slated to be exported to Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan later this year. U.S. and Chinese buyers also are said to be interested.
|Young Toys’ upcoming product Biclonz. (Young Toys)|
With Biclonz fully designed and developed by Young Toys, the company hopes to boost its annual sales to 100 billion won.
“Unlike other toys, the components of each Biclonz model are interoperable. For example, the leg part of this model can be joined with the upper part of that model and still function as a whole Biclonz. I’d say this is the first cross-assembled toy on the market,” the CEO said.
Tobot and Biclonz also are known for their accurate depictions of Korea. In the “Biclonz” animation, the protagonists frequently visit popular recreational and tourist destinations such as Jamsil Stadium and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
“I find being Korean an extra attraction in producing universal toys,” Han said.
Thanks to its attention to detail, the toymaker was able to partner with local carmaker Kia to design the Tobot after its cars. The animated film series, which is now in its 14th season since the 2009 launch, was also carefully designed to show off Kia’s cars.
“The great thing about coplanning is that the details get reflected as accurately as possible,” said Kim Hyun-dong, general manager of the company’s design lab.
He added that consumers would likely be disappointed if the merchandised toys are too different from the real cars.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)