China’s Envee takes kid-friendly IFE to next level with Tinman Arts

Headquartered in bustling Chengdu, the capital city in China’s Sichuan province, Envee Inflight Entertainment has been creating a host of popular games and IFE content for carriers throughout the region since it launched in 2010. Already available on Panasonic and Thales IFE systems, Envee’s content is flying on more than 80% of China’s airlines, including Air China, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, and Air Tibet.

And now, in an era where many kids learn to right swipe and click “like” or “thumbs up” before they can even talk, the Chinese content provider is reaching out to a whole new generation of tech-savvy passengers through its recently announced partnership with Tinman Arts (Chengdu).

Tinman – which has been a children’s publishing powerhouse in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea for years – is probably best known on the international front for creating Smart JoJo, an adorable, baby chick-shaped toy that interacts with smartphones and can play music, audiobooks, and voice messages. Looking to marry Tinman’s playful, yet educational approach to kid’s content with Envee’s IFE know-how, the partnership hopes to soon bring a wealth of very cool content to pint-sized digital natives throughout the region.

“Envee is always happy to develop and provide content specifically for children,” says Envee founder and general manager, Xin Wu. “Many airlines have launched [kid-friendly] IFE selections, however they lack the content to attract them. Tinman are the kid experts, their products let children focus more on their games and applications, and [make] them feel more comfortable while flying. Introducing Tinman applications [in-flight] will allow children to play in tranquility [and] solve the problem of inflight entertainment for children [while also] satisfying the needs of airlines [and] parents.”

Tinman Arts Ltd.'s Smart JoJo. Image: Envee In-Flight Entertainment Company Ltd.

Tinman Arts’ Smart JoJo. Image: Envee Inflight Entertainment

Wu says there will always be room for movies on the IFE dial, but passenger demand for better and fresher inflight games like those they enjoy on the ground is growing at a steady clip, especially in the ever-expanding Chinese market. And these days, it’s not just kids who are looking to get their game on in-flight. “Games are the ultimate manifestation of multimedia. [They] can let passengers immerse and interact more … than just watching movies. Therefore I believe that in the future, the market for IFE games will expand. Furthermore, with the rise of VR equipment, games will be equipped with more features to offer passengers [and] we at Envee are currently working on this content as well.”

Kontron Infograph avionics_infograph_300x300_Apart from games, Wu says Envee’s focus on apps (for both children and adults) will also be essential moving forward, especially as wireless systems continue to roll out across the region.

“We have realized that a lot of the apps currently present on IFE systems are not attracting users. That is why Envee is currently working on developing and researching a lot of interesting IFE content. For instance … we plan to develop an app which can help passengers fall asleep in an easier way while flying [and] we have cooperated with a world-famous Yoga teacher to develop FLYWELL, an application to learn yoga while flying and to exercise on the plane,” says Wu.

“I believe games and applications that satisfy passenger’s [specific] needs need to be updated with modern equipment and that it will be this popularization that will attract more passengers.”

And since many of Tinman’s kid-focused offerings are available in several different languages, Wu says expanding Envee’s reach on the international front through this partnership is a no brainer. “What we want to show … by attending the APEX EXPO this year … is that Envee is not only a Chinese company, but we are an international player, on the international stage [and] we wish to learn from the industry’s international experts, and at the same time keep expanding and improving our own [unique] strengths.”

Flight simulator at Envee headquarters in Chengdu. Image: Envee In-Flight Entertainment Company Ltd.

Envee’s headquarters in Chengdu. Image: Envee Inflight Entertainment.

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