Kuwaiti Entrepreneur Hopes to Create the Next Pokémon

Margaret Coker in the Wall Street Journal:

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 02 09.24 Two years ago, Naif Al Mutawa started up his own comic-book series, spurred by the dearth of Arabic-language children's books in the Middle East.

Now, the 37-year-old Kuwaiti entrepreneur and his small company, backed by Islamic-compliant private investors, are lining up deals that could help him build a children's-entertainment powerhouse in the Arab world.

“I'm hoping that it will be the next Pokémon,” Mr. Mutawa says, referring to the Japanese characters that created a sensation in the 1990s as they cropped up on trading cards, television, electronic games and elsewhere.

On Monday, Mr. Mutawa announced a co-production deal with Endemol International, the global media-production company, to develop and distribute an animated TV series based on his comic-book franchise “The 99,” which is popular in the Middle East and South Asia. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the Dutch company's chief executive said each side would contribute “respectable” sums of cash.

More here.