Move over Mickey, PangPond’s here

Thai toon series hopes to become worldwide phenom

BANGKOK — Thai production house Vithita Animation has big plans for hit cartoon series “PangPond,” based on Thailand’s most famous comic-book character.

It aims to make PangPond, a little boy who has adventures in a futuristic world, as famous as Japan’s manga character Doraemon in Asia or Mickey Mouse throughout the world.

“PangPond” is already a smash in Thailand and Hong Kong and Vithita Animation is in advanced talks with terrestrial and cable TV outlets in China for broadcast rights. It also plans to distribute the series in a VCD format and sell merchandising rights.

Its next targets are Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, according to marketing director Malivorn Tianpothong.

“The firm is creating new animated characters to export. An animated movie is planned, too. We hope to earn more export sales because the domestic market is not enough to offset higher production costs,” Tianpothong says.

Exports will make up 10% of the total sales of $1.25 million this year rising to an estimated 30% next year.

Vithita is a subsid of the 30-year-old Ban Lue Sarn Printing House that first published the “PangPond” comics in 1994. The comics sell an average 360,000 copies per month.

Vithita was set up in 2001. Its first 3-D series, “PangPond, Adventure in the Future World,” was launched in 2002 on Thailand’s Channel 3. That was followed by 2-D cartoon, “PangPond, the Series.”

Its 3-D “PangPond, Adventure in the Insect World,” will bow July 24 and cost more than Bt10 million ($250,000) to make.

“PangPond” is animated by Vithita production director Chaiporn Panichrutiwong, who holds a master’s degree in visual design animation from Oregon U.

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