McDonald’s Japan Soars as Game-Starved Diners Catch Pokemon Toys

  • Burger chain giving out Pokemon toys along with Happy Meals
  • Popular Pokemon Go game still not yet launched in Japan

Pokemon Go Mania Pushes Nintendo to the Next Level

It seems the only way you can catch a Pokemon in Japan is to buy a burger at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) saw its shares jump as much as 23 percent, the biggest daily gain since its July 2001 listing after it started giving away figurines based on Pokemon characters such as Pikachu with sales of Happy Meals on Friday. Nintendo Co.’s mobile game Pokemon Go, which has sparked a worldwide frenzy, still isn’t available in Japan where the cartoon series was first created.

“Investors are flocking to Pokemon-related stocks and McDonald’s Japan is one of those benefiting from the boom,” said Mitsushige Akino, a Tokyo-based executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. “The boom came at a time when McDonald’s business has already started recovering and there’s expectation that the Pokemon toy offering will further increase customer traffic to their shops.”

After a rally lasting more than a week, Nintendo has pushed its market value past Sony Corp., fueled by global mania for the Pokemon Go game it backed. For the Japan unit of McDonald’s Corp., riding on the game’s popularity may further boost the hamburger chain’s recovery from a series of food safety scandals, according to Akino.

Shares in the Japan unit of McDonald’s Corp. rose 9.9 percent to 3,340 yen as of 11:00 a.m. in Tokyo trading Tuesday. The 23 percent jump earlier was the biggest daily gain since its July 2001 listing. The benchmark Topix index rose 0.2 percent.

Pokemon Go’s launch in Japan has been delayed because the server capacity in the country is not powerful enough to keep up with expected demand, Forbes reported July 15, citing John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon GO developer Niantic Inc.

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