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Bandai Namco to expand production of 'Gundam' plastic models

Growing popularity in Asia prompts Japanese company to boost capacity by 40%

"Gunpla," as fans of Gundam plastic models call them, are growing in popularity overseas.

TOKYO -- Bandai Namco Holdings will expand its plastic-model plant in the city of Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo, aiming to raise its production capacity by 40% by the fall of 2020 for characters and accessories that are part of the "Mobile Suit Gundam" sci-fi robot anime series.

Gundam plastic models, called "Gunpla" by enthusiasts, are increasingly popular in Asia, with shipment volume rising 150% from a decade ago to 15.73 million units in fiscal 2018 ended March this year.

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