Besides selling their famed character goods, Sanrio also takes part in movie production and publishing. They also participate in the fast food industry, running a franchise of KFC in Saitama. They also own the rights to the Peanuts characters in Japan. Sanrio also has an animatronics company branch called Kokoro Company, Ltd. ("Kokoro" being the Japanese word for "heart"), best known for the Actroid android.
Sanrio is the largest greeting card manufacturer in Japan. In 2002, they began a joint business venture with the Walt Disney Company for their greeting cards.
Hello Kitty was added to the early characters of Sanrio in 1974 and was released in 1975. The popular mouthless feline has had both peaks and drops in sales over the years, but always has been the highest contributor to Sanrio's sales. Other notably popular characters through the years have been The Little Twin Stars (created by Mr. Tsuji himself), My Melody, Keroppi, Tuxedo Sam, Badtz-Maru, Tenorikuma, Usahana, Pochacco, Chococat, and Cinnamoroll. Sanrio constantly adds new characters to its lineup (up to three a year), so some of the older characters go into retirement. Some of Sanrio's newest characters are Charmmy Kitty (Hello Kitty's pet cat), Kuromi (My Melody's rival) and Chi Chai Monchan (a pink monkey who balances bananas on his head.) For a time, Osamu Tezuka's baby unicorn character Unico, who starred in two feature-length anime movies in the early 1980s, was also part of the Sanrio empire; however, the rights to Unico shifted to Tezuka's own company after Tezuka's death in 1989.
"The Adventure of Hello Kitty & Friends" is the first ever made Hello Kitty TV series animation in 3D. The animation is licensed by Sanrio Digital and produced by Dream Cortex. The first season with 26 episodes will premier on select networks in Europe and Asia, including Hong Kong, beginning in the first quarter of 2008.
Sanrio Inc., Sanrio's American subsidiary that produces most of the merchandise found in franchise boutiques, has its office in South San Francisco, California. Sanrio's first Western hemisphere store opened in San Jose's Eastridge Mall. There are eighteen "flagship" locations across the country, and in 2005 Sanrio opened its first high-end boutique called Momoberry at Beverly Center in Los Angeles.
After "A Journey Through Fairyland", Sanrio switched gears and started doing short films, OAVs, and TV shows based on their characters (Hello Kitty, etc.). In 2006, Sanrio announced they're going to do feature-length films again when they announced they were making 2 new movies: Nezumi Monogatari: George To Gerald no Bouken (Mouse Story: George and Gerald's Adventure), about mice living together, and Cinnamoroll: The Movie, about the character Cinnamoroll. The two movies were released as a double feature on December 22, 2007 and are expected to be released overseas.