Customers select products in the first licensed retail store for the 31st Summer World University Games in Beijing on April 19. (HUA XIAOFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Rongbao, the mascot of the 31st Summer World University Games in Chengdu, Sichuan province, has been popular since its debut on Dec 30, 2019.
Consumers have been very enthusiastic, and many have sought to buy Rongbao-themed products, according to Miao Yuyuan, an official in charge of the publicity of the games.
Through the franchise plan, the 31st Summer World University Games has openly recruited 80 franchise enterprises, including top cultural and creative enterprises, to make a total of 18 series and more than 1,000 licensed products such as toys, badges, stationery and stamps that focus on the theme of Rongbao, Miao said at a news conference in Chengdu on Monday.
A Rongbao mascot 17 centimeters tall and dressed like an astronaut strongly appealed to journalists at the conference.
Its design pays tribute to China's aerospace industry and encourages young people to dare to explore, and follow their dreams, according to designer Zang Xiaoke.
China has been a pioneer and explorer of human civilization since ancient times, and it has long played a role in the exploration of the skies, Zang said at the conference.
Consumers have fallen in love with cultural and creative products derived from Rongbao's image, and factories are working overtime to catch up with demand.
In a toy factory in the Fuling district of Chongqing municipality, which neighbors Sichuan, 48 production lines with 500 workers are running at full speed to make Rongbao-related products, according to China Central Television.
More than 400 licensed retail stores have been set up in urban business districts, popular scenic spots and subway stations in Chengdu to sell Rongbao-related products.
Licensed retail outlets will be opened in various venues of the 31st Summer World University Games, Miao said.
Rongbao, a giant panda with a torch in its hand, reminds people of Sichuan, the natural habitat of the giant panda, and its capital city Chengdu, which is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
The flame above the torch in Rongbao's hand is in the shape of 31, denoting the 31st Summer World University Games.
Rongbao's ears, eyes and tail are all in the shape of flames. The panda's facial features resemble the style of makeup used in traditional Sichuan Opera.
The Games will be held in Chengdu from July 28 to Aug 8 after being deferred twice due to COVID-19.
Chengdu is the third Chinese mainland city to host the biennial event, following Beijing in 2001 and Shenzhen in 2011.