According to the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, China’s traditional toys—a category that includes dolls, educational toys, puzzles, electric trains, and toy musical instruments—saw a 1.7 percent year-over-year increase in exports, as well as a roughly 63.87 percent month-over-month increase for April. Exports totaled about $984.4 million, accounting for 64.4 percent of China’s total toy exports for the month.
Toy trade shows are terrific places in which to catch a sneak peek of the next play product sure to take the marketplace by storm. Recently, I was covering China Toy Expo, sponsored by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, which took place this past week at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. While the show featured plenty of toy brands that would be familiar to Westerners—many of them imported by Chinese companies for domestic distribution—there were also lots of Chinese toy manufacturers on-hand, bearing properties that they hope will do well at home.
And of course, if a product does well in its native market, one assumes there’s a good chance it will gain an international partner that will help it take the next step. Think of Lego, which began selling in Europe during the 1940s before expanding to North America during the ’60s. Not every new toy brand can be Lego, of course; however, it’s always fun to speculate on new products and their potential to become the next big global star due to built-in appeal, compelling features, etc. Here are a few domestically-made items from China Toy Expo, which in this author’s opinion, have a shot at breaking out worldwide. [Read more...]
On Monday, Toy State unveiled new branding designs for its flagship lights and sound and R/C product lines, Road Rippers and Nikko. The company is showcasing the new-look product lines and branding at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, and will continue to highlight them at Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in January.
Toy State acquired Nikko and Nikko Entertainment BV in May. The moves came on the heels of a period of aggressive growth, including new licensing partnerships with Hot Wheels, Transformers, Hello Kitty, and Angry Birds.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the new logos and packaging these leading brands will have when they hit retail shelves in 2015,” said Andy Friess, Toy State’s general manager of U.S. operations and senior vice president of global marketing. “Redefining the Nikko brand was a major design objective following our acquisition, and returning Road Rippers to its signature ‘orange package’ roots provides an exciting refresh for the leader in the lights and sound vehicle category.”
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 email@example.com to obtain the online registration code for the discounted rate.
Toy State has secured the worldwide rights to Nikko by acquiring the consolidated operations of its Japan and Hong Kong offices. Toy State has also acquired Nikko Entertainment BV, the European arm of the company’s R/C toy category.
Nikko manufactures R/C toys, from custom vehicles, boats, and flying items to an array of preschool R/C toys. These toys are marketed through licensing partnerships with global automakers, as well as brands such as Transformers, Hello Kitty, Fast & Furious, and Angry Birds.
The acquisition expands Toy State’s presence to Amsterdam and Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, the location of its current headquarters. The acquisition will also serve as a platform for the company’s continued expansion into Europe. Toy State’s U.S. office is located in Boston.
According to figures released by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Hong Kong’s toy exports fell 10 percent to $88.55 billion HK ($11.35 billion U.S.) in the first 11 months of 2009. While toy exports to Czech rose 58.2 percent, exports to Russia fell 57.1 percent, exports to the U.S. dropped 23.6 percent, and exports to the European Union dipped 8 percent. Baby product exports reached approximately $6 billion HK ($726 million U.S.) in the first 11 months of 2009. Hong Kong’s top export markets were the U.S., UK, Macao, Italy, and France.