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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Declining birth rate in Korea? Don't believe it!

The Seoul Character and Licensing Fair closed last Sunday, having attracted a substantial number of trade visitors, as well as upwards of 100,000 children and adults!

The show, held in Seoul's impressive Coex Centre, featured two days exclusively for trade, followed by three days where the public are invited to visit. And visit, they did! By the thousand. According to demographic research, Korea has a declining birth rate. It has to be said that, witnessing the influx of small children into the show first hand, it is very difficult to believe!

Interestingly, whilst exhibits are geared to business on the opening days, by the third day many of the booths were transformed to include a wide variety of activities for small children. Some booths - such as AuroraWorld whose Yoohoo & Friends has been immensely popular and Iconix who continued to feature hit property Pororo, had long lines of children patiently waiting for their chance to go onto the stands.

The huge Pokemon stand was another extraordinary example. The majority of it was open to the public for the full five days and the queues were constant throughout the event. Rows of tables were continuously busy with children (and some adults) playing the trading cards and also the electronic Pokemon games.

One fascinating East meets West property was an animated character - Captain Park - based on Manchester United's Korean soccer player Park Ji-Sung who is also Captain of the South Korean national team. The booth attracted huge interest, particularly from small soccer-mad boys.

All told, the fair was fascinating. Properties that are immensely popular in Asia, but are virtually unknown in the West were very much in evidence and the market research provided by the tens of thousands of preschool children was invaluable.