Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Founding a business is a lot like raising children, it takes a great deal of care and nurturing, and the time passes quickly. When I co-founded the company in 1998, Acorn’s business was originally focused on direct sales of various consumer products in Beijing, and soon expanded to cover all of mainland China. Acorn has a strong track record of developing and promoting trusted brands in China, including its widely popular Babaka posture correction products, Youngleda oxygen generating products, Yierjian fitness products and Aoya cosmetics.
Through much of its history, Acorn focused on the marketing and branding of its branded products through TV direct sales, and at one point was the largest TV direct sales operator in China. Following a downturn in the TV direct sales business which began in 2014 and was precipitated by regulatory changes in China, Acorn has been focusing on turning around the business. It has been focused on profitably growing certain of its legacy brands, with an emphasis on e-commerce, while streamlining operations, reducing overhead expenses and selling non-core assets as it shifts towards an asset-light model. Today, Acorn is incubating new business units such as Acorn Fresh and Acorn Entertainment, which target attractive addressable markets in China. We have successfully steered our Company through a number of challenges and are continuing to make progress in reinvigorating the business.
Under the deft leadership of Jacob Fisch, President and CEO, we are shaping Acorn for the future while remaining true to our past by leveraging our key strengths in marketing and branding, insight into the needs of Chinese consumers and delivering desirable, high quality brands and products. Jake and his team are working hard on expanding our core businesses and are optimistic about the prospects for our new business units, Acorn Fresh and Acorn Entertainment. We continue to emphasize our mission statement, which is displayed prominently in one of our main conference rooms: ‘Bringing the best of the world directly to the Chinese consumer.’”