Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei reported on April 19 that Sony Music Entertainment's Aniplex subsidiary has established a Shanghai-based subsidiary with the intent of starting on "full-scale" Chinese animation production, as well as sell merchandise. The subsidiary will begin operations in May. The report noted that the Chinese animation market is projected to exceed 3 trillion yen (about US$26.88 billion) in 2019.
According to Nikkei, the subsidiary will start with a direct-sales website for selling character figures and other goods from such titles as the Fate/Grand Order game and the Natsume's Book of Friends anime.
Aniplex is a production company under Sony Music Entertainment. The company also owns the subsidiary anime production companies A-1 Pictures and CloverWorks. The latter only recently separated from A-1 Pictures as its subsidiary last October, and became a subsidiary directly under Aniplex in October. Australian film distributor Madman Entertainment also recently sold its anime division to Aniplex in February.
Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in Funimation in 2017. During the AnimeJapan 2019 event in March, Funimation and Chinese streaming platform bilibili announced a new partnership to jointly acquire anime licenses "over the next few years." In addition to streaming, bilibili also runs several games in Chinese, including Fate/Grand Order since 2016.