Retail in Asia

In Markets

Playboy inks new joint venture for China market

PLBY Group has inked a new joint venture in China for its namesake Playboy brand, as the U.S. apparel firm looks to refresh its brand presence in the Asian market.

SEE ALSO: Tmall Luxury Pavilion general manager Janet Wang on how to capture China’s ‘VICs’ online

The Los Angeles-based company said it has inked a  five-year license agreement with Guandong Duhan Industrial Co., establishing a stronger manufacturing and marketing channel for Playboy-branded men’s and women’s apparel and accessories in China.

In addition, the China joint venture encompasses a new three-year license agreement for footwear, bags, and specialty apparel, extends the brand’s license agreement for underwear, and enters into a new event and venue license agreement that will bring Playboy-branded venues to Chinese customers in major cities, including Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou.

Under the agreement, Duhan will license select Playboy intellectual property in China for certain men’s and women’s apparel and accessories and cannot sublicense without the express approval of the China joint venture. The Chinese manufacturer is also required to pay minimal royalties of approximately USD 37 million over the five-year term, as well as any excess royalties.

The new license partially replaces a terminated license agreement.

“Our goal is to rebuild and grow Playboy’s China business by working with stronger partners that have deep experience with the online platforms in China and are committed to responsibly utilizing the Playboy brand,” said Ben Kohn, chief executive officer of PLBY Group.

“By working with higher quality partners and entering into shorter-term licenses with achievable minimum guarantees that incentivize them to invest in the brand and achieve excess sales and royalties, we are confident that we are taking solid steps in the right direction.”

In 2023, PLBY group, which owns the Playboy and Honey Birdette brands, reported total revenue from continuing operations fell 23 percent to USD 143 million, hit by a decline in the company’s direct-to-consumer sales and licensing revenues.

At the time of reporting in April, the company said in 2024 it would focus on re-licensing previously licensed product categories in China, as well as the development of relevant new lifestyle categories in the market.