Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Sanrio Company, Ltd. have entered into an agreement under which they will develop and launch co-branded merchandise featuring the popular characters Tweety and Hello Kitty. The agreement, which calls for merchandise to be sold exclusively at Sanrio locations throughout Japan and most of Asia, is the first time industry-leading companies have partnered to develop and market a co-brand featuring their popular characters. Merchandise featuring the new co-brand will launch in March 2002 in Japan. Following this initial launch, the co-branded venture will be extended throughout most of Asia -- to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Asia is one of the world's largest character goods markets, with the size of Japan's market alone estimated to be worth annually over two trillion yen (approximately US$16.6bn). Designed around the theme of friendship and international goodwill, the merchandise will initially comprise of at least 200 Tweety and Hello Kitty co-branded products, as well as Tweety-as-designed-by-Sanrio exclusive product. Appealing to a broad spectrum of young women and girls aged between 16-30 -- a key market in Japan -- the co-branded collection of merchandise will range from stationery items, fashion and home accessories, personal care items, plush, gifts and novelties, electronics, publishing, food and beverages and confectionery. The Tweety-exclusive product will include stationery, paper goods, mobile phone accessories and towels.