Credit: Line Friends

Azuki, Beanz Creator Unveils Partnership With Line Friends (IPX)

BY Erika Lee

April 12, 2023

The Alpha

  • Chiru Labs, the Web3 company best known for being the parent company of popular NFT collections Azuki and Beanz, has announced a strategic partnership with digital IP platform company IPX (formerly Line Friends). 
  • Line Friends — similar to the IP of Hello Kitty and Friends — features a world of cute original characters, including Brown the bear, Cony the rabbit, and Sally the chick. The characters were originally created as stickers for Line users to use in their chats.
  • Fans and holders can expect co-branded content and merch between Beanz and LINE Friends, retail distribution at Line Friends stores, and immersive IRL activations that combine the two worlds.

Dive deeper

What happens when a popular web2 company with millions of users joins forces with an equally influential blue-chip NFT collection? We’ve already witnessed this trend with collaborations such as Yuga Labs and Gucci. We can expect to see even more partnerships emerge as Web3 brands seek guidance from web2 companies for mainstream adoption, and web2 brands turn to Web3 companies for fresh ideas and innovation.

Now, with this latest collaboration, Chiru Labs and IPX have joined the fold.

For those unfamiliar, Line Friends (IPX) is a global character brand that originated from the Line messaging app. While there are around three million active Line users in the United States, the app has a more extensive user base in Asia, where it has around 178 million active monthly users across Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, as of 2021.

Since appearing on the app, the Line Friends IP has expanded into a popular merchandise line that includes everything from clothing and accessories to household items and toys. The brand has also opened various retail stores and cafes worldwide featuring its iconic characters and themed products.

LINE and Azuki Beanz
Credit: Chiru Labs and Line Friends

Line has partnered with popular brands in the past, but this marks their first Web3 collaboration. Both companies will utilize their strengths to their advantage, with IPX contributing its capabilities in IP building and retail and Chiru Labs bringing its expertise in Web3.

“Line Friends have collaborated with BTS, Starbucks, Netflix, and many more top global brands,” said Zagabond, CEO and founder of Chiru Labs, in an interview with nft now. “This collaboration between Beanz and Line Friends is an unprecedented partnership which bridges web2 and Web3 IP and sets the foundation for community-driven IP.”

What’s next

Chiru Labs says it will kick off its partnership with IPX through Beanz and Line Friends, with the possibility of expanding the partnership to other IPs within the companies’ respective portfolios. This includes WADE and OOZ & Mates on the IPX side and Azuki on the Chiru Labs side.

“We are eager to unveil an expanded IP business that encompasses Web3,” said Logan Cho, the Head of the Metaverse Business at IPX, in a press release. “Offering collaborative opportunities for both NFT holders and character IP enthusiasts alike.”

To celebrate the partnership, an animation of Line Characters and Beanz will be displayed on the billboard above the flagship LINE Friends store in Times Square during NFT NYC from April 12 to April 16.

The partnership between Chiru Labs and IPX is a big deal for the worlds of Web3 and web2, as it brings together two strong brands with complementary strengths, expertise, and a global fanbase.

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Beanz would be part of the Brown and Friends Netflix show. It has since been corrected.

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