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Traveling Hello Kitty carnival arrives at Bangkok

Limited-time attraction part of Sanrio's effort to woo more Asian fans

Hello Kitty Go Around features many photo opportunities with Japan's most famous cat. (Photo by Marimi Kishimoto)

BANGKOK -- A carnival dedicated to Hello Kitty and her friends has come to Thailand for the first time, featuring games, photo opportunities and other attractions for fans of the iconic character.

Hello Kitty Go Around originated in Hong Kong. It opened on Friday inside the Donki Mall Thonglor in Bangkok.

Sanrio, the Japan-based owner of the Hello Kitty brand, licensed operations to Thai event company AHM Entertainment. The carnival will close at the end of May but will be followed by a permanent venue.

"Hello Kitty has been a beloved character in Thailand for forty years," Sanrio director Yuko Tsuji said at a news conference ahead of the opening.

"We hope to attract 150,000 guests, mainly fans in their 30s to 40s and families," said AHM Entertainment CEO Yuki Koyasu.

Entry to the carnival costs 350 baht ($11) for adults and 280 baht for children.

A permanent Hello Kitty-themed restaurant and photo studio will open by the end of the year at the mall, which is operated by Japanese discount retailer Don Quijote. It is envisioned as a venue for fans looking to celebrate special events like birthdays.

While Sanrio has struggled to gain momentum in the U.S. and Europe, its characters enjoy a strong fan base throughout Asia. The company is looking to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia in particular under a medium-term business plan through March 2021.

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