The Palace Museum was able to earn 1.5 billion yuan (220 million U.S. dollars) in 2017 thanks to its cultural products, overtaking the revenue of 1,500 A-share listed companies in China.
The announcement was made by the museum’s curator Shan Jixiang at the Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum on Sunday.
The sales volume of cultural creative products increased from 600 million yuan in 2013 to one billion yuan in 2016.
In 2017, the cultural creative department of the Palace Museum raked in nearly one billion yuan in offline sales, while its store on Taobao, an online shopping platform, sold 500 million yuan worth of products, according to Jiyan Consulting Group.
The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was the home of emperors for some 500 years in Imperial China. Today, it is one of the Chinese capital’s landmarks and arguably the hottest attraction in the country.
It is also an example of a cultural entity that knows how to keep up with the times, and stay relevant in modern days.
It set up its Taobao store in 2010, but sales were slow due to high prices and lack of creativity in the products on display. It was not until 2013 that the Palace Museum hit the jackpot by cutifying their merchandise, re-branding them to become more relatable to the young tech-savvy generation.
Today, the Palace Museum sells a wide range of products including cosmetics, pajamas, ceramics, pastry gift boxes, and paper folding fans, among others.
In 2016, it forged partnerships with Internet giants Tencent and Alibaba to attract more young people on WeChat and expand its customer base on Taobao.
It also cooperated with other brands to develop new products, such as jewelry jointly designed with Harper’s Bazaar; cookies on the Dragon Boat Festival and mooncakes inspired by the paintings of Emperor Huizong on the Mid-Autumn Festival with artisans from Daoxiang Village.
In 2018, the Corner Tower Cafe was opened in the Palace Museum, featuring an exclusive section of gadgets such as calendars and notebooks inspired by the history of the Forbidden City.