Playboy Partners Up to Open 2,000 Stores in China

CHICAGO — Playboy has signed a five-year, $50 million deal with a Shanghai-based company that plans to open more than 2,000 Playboy-branded outlets in mainland China.

Playboy's retail entry into China is quite a feat because the magazine itself is still banned there.

"Playboy will not just be the magazine anymore; tapping into the buying power of Asia's upwardly mobile middle classes, it will be an 'aspirational fashion brand,'" said Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy Enterprises.

Playboy's sales of consumer products increased 36 percent last year, largely because of the success in the Asian market, which accounts for 40 percent of all licensing revenue.

Flanders noted that more than 80 percent of Playboy-licensed products are purchased by women.

"The magazine may say, 'Entertainment for Men,' but the bigger story about our brand is how attracted women are to it," Flanders said. This month Playboy opened a three-story apparel store in Taipei, as well as a Playboy Club in Macao.