More exhibition space, more exhibitors, and more visitors: China Kids and Toy Expo is growing fast, just like Chinese population and its needs. With the new two-child policy, effective from January 1st, 2016, and the middle class growing its revenue, there’s more room for international brands. Are they ready to take up the challenge?
by Laila Caroli, contributor to the Italian trade magazine Il Giornale dell’Infanzia, BCMI member
The China Kids and Toy Expo, held from Oct. 19 to 21, 2016 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, set new benchmarks in terms of visitors and international participation. The show had 65,467 attendes from 130 countries and regions, and nearly 500 international brands from 20 countries and regions (up 30 percent compared to the year prior). Covering an area of 155,000 square meters, more than 1,700 exhibitors introduced 3,000 brands in 7,000 booths. The expo was co-organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA), celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and Koelnmesse.
The show is much more than just a fair. Each year, the hosts hold various activities such as special displays, meetings, awarding ceremonies, round-table discussions, and matchmaking sessions so that both exhibitors and visitors have opportunities to promote their products or share information about the industry.
“CTJPA has a significant role in the introduction of new safety regulations and new technologies, and this event has become important for networking. We’ve already met visitors from Greece, Singapore, India, and China, of course,” said Grace Wee, marketing director of Dorel Juvenile China, whose offices opened two years ago.
Kidsland operates more than 170 toy stores and 35 maternal and baby stores all over China, and owns more than 400 corners in department stores, a leading sales marketing and distribution service company, specializing in international children’s brands, in both toys and baby sectors. The company also distributes through international chains such as Mothercare and Lollipop, reaching over 2,000 sales points coverage. “We operate on multiple distribution channels and networks, both online and offline, organizing social media marketing programs. We’re retailers, distributors, e-tailers and marketers, the only thing we are not is producers: we just choose the best of the best for our customers”, explained Crystal Zhong, general manager at Kidsland. The company is the exclusive Chinese partner for many international brands including Lego, Chicco, Brio, and Schleich.
It is not easy for a company to build its own business in China. Its domestic market is continuously developing in terms of both of size and competition. It is a challenge for international brands because they need to know the right way to propose their product, which has to be necessary and understandable to consumers (who often have to be educated).
The key to deal with this great complexity is patience: you cannot obtain immediate reward without a solid foundation. Consumers require quality, sincerity, and sustainability, all things that are missing to the Made in China productions and have affected its name in the past, undermining its reputation.
Taking place annually since 2011 in Shanghai, China’s biggest international trade hub, CKE is held concurrently with China Toy Expo and China International Licensing Show. The fair’s next edition will be held on Oct.18 to 20, 2017, with even more international brands meeting highly qualified buyers, distributors, and retailers from China.