Taipei, Jan. 5 (CNA) The popularity of giant panda cub Yuanzai has spawned a wide array of merchandise featuring her image in Taiwan that is expected to generate an estimated NT$500 million (US$16.6 million) in commercial opportunities, the Taipei City government said Sunday.
Manufacturers have introduced several products with likenesses of the furry creature, including smartphone cases, stationery items and baby strollers, according to the city's Department of Economic Development, which began taking applications last month for authorization to use the cub's image.
Among the items hoping to capitalize on Taiwan's panda frenzy are document folders emblazoned with photos of the six-month-old cub, to be launched by 7-Eleven stores on Monday when Yuanzai makes her public debut.
Two other major chain convenience stores -- FamilyMart and Hi-Life -- will launch a service allowing fans to create photographs of themselves and Yuanzai.
The issuer of the stored value EasyCard, which is widely used on public transportation in Taipei, will also release two EasyCards featuring Yuanzai on Jan. 24.
Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. will unveil Yuanzai-themed tablets on Jan. 15 and Yuanzai-themed notebook computers in April.
The cub's home, the Taipei Zoo, will also roll out a range of memorabilia featuring Yuanzai designs for the cub's public debut, including post cards, T-shirts and life-size dolls.
(By Tai Ya-chen and Scully Hsiao)
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