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Sanrio's 31-year-old CEO looks beyond Hello Kitty

Japanese company wants to revamp overseas business and boost IT

Hello Kitty greets visitors at the reopening of Puroland in July.

TOKYO -- In July, Sanrio, the company behind the world-famous Hello Kitty franchise, experienced its first leadership change since it was founded in 1960. Shintaro Tsuji, 92, the company's charismatic founder, handed the reins to Tomokuni Tsuji, his 31-year-old grandson. The company has not had any major hits since Hello Kitty, and the new coronavirus is putting it under even more pressure. With the change in leadership, the question is whether the company can innovate upon the business model created by the elder Tsuji and chart a course for future growth.

"Kitty-chan, it's been so long! We're back!"

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