Jakks Pacific Teams with Meisheng Culture & Creative Corp. to Bring Jakks Products to China

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. and Meisheng Culture & Creative Corp. Ltd., a Chinese entertainment and cultural production industry group, have entered into a joint venture to provide Jakks licensed and non-licensed toys and consumer products to certain territories in China. The joint venture will include a subsidiary in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which is expected to sell, distribute, and market the products.

Jakks Pacific will provide dolls, plush, role play products, action figures, costumes, seasonal items, technology and app-enhanced toys, and more, based on its entertainment licenses and proprietary brands.

“Through our partnership with Meisheng, with their trusted name and strong foothold in the Chinese market, we are aiming to bring our diverse portfolio of toys and consumer products into the robust Chinese market to allow millions of families to enjoy our great brands and products,” said Stephen Berman, chief executive officer at Jakks Pacific.

In a statement, Xiaoqiang Zhao, the chairman of Meisheng Cultural & Creative Corp. Ltd., cited the joint venture with Jakks as advantageous to the development of the Chinese toy market.

Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Open Approximately 90 Stores Worldwide Throughout 2014

ToysRUsLogo copyToys “R” Us plans to open approximately 90 stores, which include new, relocated, and licensed stores. They will be located throughout 21 of the 37 countries and jurisdictions in which Toys “R” Us Inc. currently has a presence through its wholly owned and licensed businesses. The list also includes the company’s first licensed store in Namibia, which opened in October.

Toys “R” Us’ most significant expansion plans for this year are in China and Southeast Asia, where it has already begun operating several of 22 brand-new stores in China and eight planned new locations in Malaysia. By the end of the year, Toys “R” Us will operate 76 stores in 35 cities throughout China.

The new stores that the company plans to open this year include both Toys “R” Us locations and a number of side-by-side formats, which combine Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us under one roof. Meanwhile, new store sizes vary by country and range from 3,000 to 45,000 square feet.

New and relocated store locations are scheduled to open this year in the following countries: the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Namibia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

Auldey Toys North America to Launch Next Year, Appoints Adrian Roche as President

AudleyChina-based Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co. Ltd. has created Auldey Toys North America, which will launch its new headquarters in Boston, Mass. The Auldey Toys subsidiary comes as the company prepares for 2015, which will feature a focus on its established boys, R/C, and vehicles lines.

Auldey Toys will also launch its first North American preschool animation program, Super Wings, which will air next year.

Auldey Toys North America has appointed Adrian Roche as the company president. Joining Auldey Toys after eight years as vice president of brands at Mega Brands, and previously serving as vice president at The First Years (Tomy), Roche brings significant experience in the boys and preschool categories.

Auldey Toys North America has retained ChizComm Ltd. as its marketing agency.

China Toy Expo Highlights Sustainability, Safety, and Education as Popular Trends in China

Despite being half a world away, the concerns and demands of toy consumers in China are not all that different from their U.S. counterparts, according to China Toy Expo.

The first day of the trade fair, along with China Kids Expo and China Licensing Expo—all hosted by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association—kicked off this past Tuesday in sprawling fashion at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. Across three days, 1,364 global brands were on display, and roughly 80,000 visitors were expected to participate.

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The China Toy Expo took place at the Shanghai International Expo Center in Shanghai from Oct. 14-16.

Recent news shows reasons to be optimistic about the Chinese toy market’s future, including the country’s overtaking of the U.S. in terms of purchasing power. Yet based on the flow of crowds at the show, many of the types of toys that Chinese consumers are especially interested in are ones promoting sustainability, safety, and educational development. [Read more...]

Sony Moving Closer to Making Inroads into China

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGODuring the past week, it was widely reported that Sony Corp. is moving closer to shipping video game consoles in China, where devices such as its PlayStation had long been banned.

According to a filing reported on by Bloomberg News this past Thursday, a Sony-affiliated factory in Shanghai’s free-trade zone will start packaging consoles this December. The filing—an environmental assessment posted by a Sony local partner on the free-trade zone’s official website—stated that the factory has the capacity to package 200,000 consoles a year.

The exact type of console was not specified. “Though it is true the filing was made and approved, some parts of the document such as the amount of shipment, number of staff, production start timing, were only tentative and do not represent the actual business plan. We have yet to announce which system will be available in China, price for the system, and the launch date,” said a representative of Sony Computer Entertainment in a statement.

Sony signed a deal earlier this year with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. to make and sell PlayStation game consoles in China. The move came after the Chinese government in September lifted a 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles, which had been in place due to concerns about violent content.

Sony video game competitor Microsoft began selling its Xbox One through the free-trade zone late last month, with restrictions on the titles approved for sale.

Growth Expected for 2014 China Toy Expo and China Kids Expo

The 2014 China Toy Expo and China Kids Expo will see a 24 percent increase in exhibitors from last year, with 1,364 global brands and 80,000 visitors participating in the trade fairs over three days.

Over 300 international toy and baby products brands from more than 30 countries and regions will be exhibiting at the 2014 shows. Both participation from exhibitors and expected visitors has increased from past years’ expos. International visitor pre-registration has increased 149 percent from last year.

New exhibition hall themes and pavilions have been created to meet the needs of this year’s trade expos, which will take place in Shanghai from October 14 to 16.

Greater China Business Forum to Take Place in New York City

TIAThe U.S. Commercial Service is hosting a two-day conference on export opportunities in Greater China, which will take place on October 7 to 8 at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

The Global Markets: Greater China Business Forum program will cover export opportunities and challenges related to the major cities of Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as offer participants the chance to meet one-on-one with visiting U.S. Commercial Service diplomats from Beijing, Chengdu, Macau, Ulan Bator (Mongolia), Shanghai, Shenyang, Taipei, Singapore, and more. Additionally, subject matter experts will be on-hand to consult individually with companies interested in learning about intellectual property rights (IPR), standards and certifications, e-commerce, trade finance, export controls, government procurement, and additional topics.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is a supporting organization for this event, and TIA members receive a discounted rate ($100 off the regular rate) when they register. More information is available online at the U.S. Commercial Service web site. Representatives of TIA member companies may contact Anne McConnell at amcconnell@toyassociation.org to obtain the online registration code for the discounted rate.

Funko and Mindstyle Form Alliance with Sights on China and Southeast Asia

PopAsiaFunko and Mindstyle International have reached an agreement for a strategic alliance in greater China and southeast Asia. The new alliance will build on Funko’s existing position globally and create new growth opportunities.

Funko will retain creative, marketing, and sales responsibilities for its portfolio of iconic collectibles, which include its Wacky Wobbler Bobble-Heads, Wisecracks, Mystery Minis, and the ultra collectible Pop! Vinyl Figures. Mindstyle—a global creative, development, and manufacturing company based in China—will bring strong product development with Pop! Asia and premium product lines, local distribution, and a history of initiatives for the Asia market.

CBME China in Shanghai Features More than 2,400 Participating Brands

The 14th Shanghai International Children Baby Maternity Industry Expo (CBME China) welcomes local and international suppliers to showcase their latest products through Thursday at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

The event features 2,428 brands from 1,751 exhibitors across 166,680 square meters of exhibition space. Participating brands include Chicco, Hallmark Babies, Mattel, OXO, Teletubbies, and more. The range of maternity products covered extends beyond toys and accessories, to strollers, healthcare, and more.

This year’s CBME China offers private meetings to help buyer meet one-on-one with top suppliers, as well as leading chain stores and online retailers for children, baby, and maternity products. In addition, there will be presentations from government representatives to discuss the latest guidelines and laws covering milk importation, social media marketing, and retail store development strategy, among other topics.

Messe Frankfurt and GDTA to Organize Guangzhou Trade Shows

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) have signed a letter of intent to join forces in organizing the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair and the Guangzhou International Stroller and Baby Product Fair starting next year.

The GDTA acts as an industry voice to communicate with the Chinese government and coordinate with the government for industry research and survey projects. It also organizes the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair.

Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is responsible for Ambiente, Christmasworld, Paperworld, and Tendence. It has exhibition and collaboration experience with different industry associations and government bodies in greater China.