October 27, 2016 2:20 am JST

Hello Kitty theme park headed for Hanoi

Guests crowd around Hello Kitty at Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- An indoor amusement park in Hanoi featuring Sanrio's Hello Kitty is due for launch in 2018, becoming the first major theme park in Vietnam.

The owner of the Hello Kitty brand signed an agreement with Vietnamese conglomerate BRG Group to grant licenses for its characters ahead of the facility's development. Characters popular in Asia such as Pompompurin and My Melody will also be featured. This marks Sanrio's sixth such grant for amusement parks overseas, including sites in the U.K. and South Korea.

Investment amounts will be decided later. Vietnam has yet to see a large-scale entertainment site such as Disneyland or Universal Studios. Sanrio and BRG aim to draw customers by leveraging the character's wide name recognition.

The number of Sanrio theme parks in Asia has been growing in recent years. In 2012, a small indoor site opened in Malaysia. A large-scale outdoor park was launched in China's Zhejiang Province in 2015.

As Vietnam's middle class is expanding, so is its spending on leisure activities. Every year, 5 million Vietnamese travel overseas, according to Sanrio.

BRG Group executives apparently decided to develop the entertainment facility based on a visit to Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo.

(Nikkei)

Sanrio Co., Ltd.

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