In an effort to expand the presence of its popular preschool properties in China, eOne’s Family & Brands arm for the region has appointed former Pearl Studio GM Pengchong Xu (pictured left) as VP of licensing, and ex-Mattel marketing head Frida Zhang (pictured right) as VP of marketing.
eOne welcomed both execs on January 2 to its newly launched Shanghai office, where Xu and Zhang will work alongside an existing brand protection team and a network of locally appointed agents, focusing on the Chinese expansion and rollout of eOne’s hit preschool IPs Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, as well as upcoming property Ricky Zoom.
In his new role heading up consumer products, Xu will steer the division’s commercial team, manage all key licensing and retail accounts, and oversee a network of licensing agents to strengthen merchandise sales for eOne’s entire brand portfolio. Xu was most recently GM of ancillary business at Pearl Studio (formerly Oriental DreamWorks), and he previously held licensing, product marketing and category management roles at Disney, Philips and Siemens.
Zhang, meanwhile, will shepherd the strategic development, management and growth of eOne Family & Brands’ Shanghai-based brand marketing initiatives. She will also oversee consumer marketing strategies, communication programs and local creative asset direction.Zhang joins eOne from Mattel, where she most recently served as senior director and head of marketing in Shanghai.
In a third hire, Iwen Lee has been brought in as product development manager for eOne Family & Brands in China. Reporting to Xu, Lee will steer the approvals of licensed products for the market. She previously worked at Charactopia Licensing and Disney.
eOne’s Family & Brands division delivered a 29% revenue increase to US$97.5 million in the first half of 2018 due to continued strength from Peppa Pig (up 18%) and PJ Masks (up 44%). Now with offices in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, eOne is currently preparing for the February theatrical premiere of Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year, the first-ever co-pro between eOne and Alibaba Pictures. The company also recently inked a retail partnership with Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall that will feature Peppa Pig in Tmall’s Super Brand Day promotion on January 8.