Factories step up production to meet mascot demand

Release time:2022-02-09 Publisher:South Asia Development

Manufacturers of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics mascot products are quickly resuming operations after the Chinese New Year holiday to meet surging demand for the popular panda.

The Beijing Winter Olympics organizers said on Tuesday that a special Chinese New Year version of the Bing Dwen Dwen doll will hit the market soon and sales of the licensed merchandise will continue to at least the end of June.

In response to supply shortages of Bing Dwen Dwen products, the organizers have coordinated with manufacturers and licensed toy-making factories to resume work to boost production.

Bing Dwen Dwen, a panda cub dressed in a full-body ice shell, has become a major attraction of the Winter Olympics, winning the hearts of athletes, politicians, media and audiences over the globe with its chubby appearance.

The mascot has become so popular that all related products, including Bing Dwen Dwen miniatures, dolls and keychains, sold by licensed online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops have almost run out of stock since the Games opening ceremony on Friday.
On Monday, the Chinese women's soccer team, which won the AFC Women's Asian Cup final in India on Sunday, was swept up in the pandemonium. After the team's flight landed in Shanghai, captain Wang Shanshan said at a news conference, "Everyone loves Bing Dwen Dwen, can someone send us one too?"

Zhao Weidong, spokesman of the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, said on Sunday that the organizers have undertaken coordinated efforts to increase supplies of mascot products.

One of the manufacturers, Jinjiang Hengsheng Toys in Fujian province, told The Beijing News on Monday that the company will resume production earlier than planned and it has bought airplane tickets for some employees to return to work early.

The company's general manager Lian Hai'an said the factory has received an additional 500,000 orders and maximum production will be 4,000 items a day when operations resume. The production of licensed Bing Dwen Dwen products also requires coordination with factories that produce packaging. "It takes time for all workers to travel back to work. The shortage will be relieved as Spring Festival ends," Lian said.

Bing Dwen Dwen was unveiled as the mascot for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2019 along with Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascot for the Winter Paralympics. Bing Dwen Dwen's shell resembles an astronaut's spacesuit, while the rings of color around the mascot's face were inspired by the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, nicknamed the "ice ribbon".

The Bing Dwen Dwen doll features two parts-the silica gel that makes up the ice shell, and the plush toy component, which make the toy more difficult to manufacture than regular dolls, Lian said. "We've been doing toys for more than 30 years and it was the first time we encountered the combination of silicone and a plush (toy)," he said.

Meanwhile, police in Beijing's Dongcheng district have fined three people for reselling Bing Dwen Dwen dolls at high prices to gain illegal profits, which has disrupted the normal market order, adding that they will continue to crack down on similar cases.