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Understand Chinese Gen Z Consumers and Create Branded IP

In recent times, Chikawa has taken the Chinese social media landscape by storm. This Japanese comic series, featuring endearing characters like the tearful hamster Gii, the talkative cat Ba, and the quirky rabbit Usaqi, has captured the hearts of millions. The phenomenon is not isolated; it's part of a broader trend where cute IPs resonate deeply with the youth.

Day 1 of the Chiikawa x Miniso co-branded flash mob at Shanghai Jing'an Joy City.

Xinhong, a data tool of Xiaohongshu under Xinbeng, shows that the number of Chiikawa-related notes on Xiaohongshu so far this year (January 1-April 15) has reached 247,000, with a cumulative total of 25,630,000 likes and a daily average of 240,000 likes.

Chikawa's success is mirrored by other trending IPs such as Loopy and Jellycat, which have also found immense popularity among Chinese Gen Z. These characters have transcended their original content, becoming cultural touchpoints for young consumers.

The popularity of these IPs is not a coincidence. In this article, we will delve into the psyche of Chinese Gen Z consumers to understand their behaviors and preferences. We will then explore how brands can leverage these insights to create their own successful branded IPs.



Chiikawa's charm lies in its trio of characters, each with distinct personalities that resonate with Gen Z's multifaceted identity. Gii's timidity, Ba'sxsociability, and Usaqi's eccentricity reflect the diverse traits and struggles of the younger generation.

Chiikawa serves as a mirror to Gen Z's real-life struggles, offering a virtual refuge where they cn find solace and see reflections of their daily lives. The characters' challenges and victories resonate with the generation's own experiences, providing a sense of understanding and community. 

Meanwhile, the "cute economy" has seen a surge in popularity, with cute items like Jellycat dolls and Disney's Linabell becoming must-haves. This trend underscores the emotional connection that young consumers seek through their interactions with brands.

What's more, the transformation of comic characters into memes has been pivotal in their spread among Gen Z. Memes serve as a unique language for communication, allowing these characters to infiltrate social circles and become part of the cultural lexicon.



Successful IPs share common traits. They:

●  reflect Gen Z's daily life,

●  feature adorable characters,

●and leverage social media for rapid dissemination.

Understanding these factors is crucial for brands looking to create their own IPs.

A prime example of IP success is Chinese beverage brand MIXUE (蜜雪冰城)'s own IP Snow King (雪王). This character has become a cultural icon, embodying the brand's playful and approachable image. Its success story serves as a blueprint for other brands aspiring to create impactful IPs.



● Deepen Your Understanding of Gen Z: 

Recognize the subtle emotions of young consumers. By understanding their lifestyle and emotional needs, you can create content that resonates authentically, offering companionship and positive emotional value.

● Align with Your Brand Image:

Ensure that the IP complements and enhances your brand's identity, reinforcing the connection between the character and the product or service.

● Aesthetic Appeal (颜值):

Design your IP with high visual appeal to attract attention and foster a strong first impression.

● Leverage Social Media:

Utilize social platforms to spread the word about your IP. Create memes and trend-setting topics to engage with your audience and increase visibility.

● Develop IP Branded Products:

Offer merchandise such as plush toys or collectibles that embody your IP, allowing consumers to engage with the character in a tangible way.


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