Hello Kitty is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Yuko Shimizu. She is portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow. The character's first appearance on an item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1974 and brought to the United States in 1976. The character is a staple of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture.
Originally aimed at the pre-adolescent female market, the Hello Kitty product range has expanded and goes all the way from dolls, stickers, greeting cards, clothes, accessories, school supplies and stationary to purses, toasters, televisions, other home appliances, massagers, and computer equipment. These products range from mass market items to high-end consumer products and rare collectibles.