Mattel to make BTS dolls

SEOUL • Barbie will have company. Its maker, Mattel, is turning to South Korean boyband BTS for help to lure a new generation of kids.

It will create a toy line inspired by the seven-member group that includes dolls, collectible figures and games, the California-based company announced at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair.

Mattel's stock fell 35 per cent last year after slumping 44 per cent in 2017.

One of two leading toymakers in the United States, it hired a new chief executive officer last year and is attempting to become a broader entertainment company that turns its best-selling toys into television shows and movies, reported Bloomberg.

Thanks to a loyal fan base known as #Army, BTS' economic value is estimated at more than US$3.6 billion (S$4.9 billion), noted Hyundai Research Institute.

Last year, BTS became the first South Korean pop group to top the Billboard album charts in the US, and sold out a concert at New York City's Citi Field.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor, messaging app Line and sneaker brand Converse are working on new products with BTS, who last year sold 603,307 albums in the US, second only to Eminem's sales of 755,027 albums, according to Buzz Angle Music.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Mattel to make BTS dolls'. Print Edition | Subscribe