World's first Barbie restaurant opens

With hot pink sofas, high heels-shaped tables and chairs decorated with tutus, the first Barbie-themed restaurant opened in Taiwan on Wednesday catering to fans of the iconic doll.

US toymaker Mattel has licensed Taiwan's restaurant group Sinlaku to operate the Barbie Cafe and hopes that the new establishment in a bustling shopping district in the capital Taipei will help promote Barbie as a fashion brand.

"We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image," said Iggy Yip, a senior manager in Mattel's consumer products division in Greater China.

Besides dolls, Mattel retails garments, accessories and furniture in Taiwan and some select products will be available in the cafe, she said.

Yip is hopeful that the restaurant will also attract Barbie fans from China, Hong Kong and Japan, which are among the biggest sources of tourists to Taiwan.

Jessica Ho, an office worker in Taipei who has a five-year-old daughter, gave her thumbs-up to the Barbie Cafe.

"My child and I both love Barbie and this lovely and cute place is like a dream come true for us. I will take her here to celebrate her next birthday," she said.

Taiwan has a long history with Barbie as it used to be a manufacturing centre for the dolls until Mattel relocated its production lines to China and elsewhere to lower costs in the late 1980s.

Mattel had launched a Barbie concept store in China in 2009, as it celebrated the doll's 50th birthday, but it was closed down after two years amid reports the outlet failed to get off the ground.

AFP

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