Comic store opens door to anime culture
Japan's biggest anime retailer hopes to raise the culture's profile in Hong Kong with the opening of a comic-book store yesterday in Mong Kok.
Animate has teamed up with local bookseller Chung Hwa for the venture, the Manga Store, which will see local, Western and Japanese comic books, merchandise and animated movies.
'So far, only individual comics have broken into the Hong Kong market,' said Yutaka Takahashi, president of Animate, who visited Hong Kong for the store launch. 'We hope to introduce the whole anime culture to the city.'
'We'd also like to let Hongkongers know the importance of buying authorised - not pirated - products,' Takahashi said.
That was crucial when building a new business and creating a new culture, he added.
'We want Hong Kong people to support the real, authorised goods because they are better.'
Animate is contributing comic-related souvenirs and paraphernalia to the store, whose stock will be updated frequently to keep up with comic trends - and to 'beat pirated versions' - Takahashi said.
The store stocks more than 1,000 comic titles and Animate helped Chung Hwa design the layout of the store.
Cherry Cheng Chou-ying, Chung Hwa's assistant general manager, said: 'Ours is a strategic partnership. While there is no direct money involved, Animate has provided us with information, advice and suggestions in opening the store.'
This is anime giant Animate's first taste of the Hong Kong market. Takahashi said while the company did not plan to open its own store in Hong Kong, Animate would expand its business through Chung Hwa.
'We enjoy working with [Chung Hwa], as we feel that they don't treat this just as a business but are genuinely interested in introducing comic and anime culture to Hong Kong,' said Takahashi. He was impressed by how a traditional bookstore was willing and committed to try this new venture, and had a highly capable staff for the job.