What are secrets behind the thriving Palace Museum?

The Palace Museum (Chinanews.com/Du Yang)

From rolling out the highly viewed variety show, selling exclusive lipsticks, to opening the exquisite café, the Palace Museum has already risen as a new hit among the Chinese youth.

Taobao, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, said on microblogging website Weibo that three cosmetics products designed by the Palace Museum were sold out in just two minutes after the “Double 12” shopping spree began.

It is learnt that the sales volume of the Palace Museum’s cultural and creative products reaches 1 billion yuan each year, and the figure once hit 1.5 billion in 2017.

How could a time-honored museum achieve such a success in the era of digital economy? What are its secrets?

Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum, remarked at the 2017 Boao Forum for Asia that the museum’s cultural products were not attractive enough for the majority, especially the young generation, since they were not fun, functional and interactive. As a result, the Palace Museum shifted strategy and made its products more useful and innovative, he added.

The Palace Museum is jumping out of the box, and trying to introduce history to the young people by new means. The cultural and creative products such as those developed based on Yong Zheng and Qian Long, two emperors of the Qing Dynasty, are amongst some of the best examples.

The Palace Museum, laying importance on the study of youth psychology, tailors products for the young generation, said Feng Nai’en, deputy director of the museum.

As for the rising cultural and commercial value of the Palace Museum, Ma Jidong, columnist of Financial Times and founder of Art Trade Journal, attributed it to the trending palace dramas carrying strong royal culture that set their stories in the Qing Dynasty.

“The Palace Museum represents royal family, and what they use is of prime quality. That means anything tagged with it has a ready market,” said Lin Kai, core staff of a creative cultural product brand.

The other reason behind the popularity enjoyed by the Palace Museum is the high standards of its products. “They do have strict requirements. Our designs need to be revised at least seven or eight times, sometimes even up to dozens of times,” said Lin, who designed cookies for the Palace Museum last year.