I am in Shanghai for the China Toy Expo, China Kids Expo, China Licensing Expo and China Preschool Expo (don’t worry, they are all in one location). This is a show for the domestic Chinese toy market and it is well attended.
What I am seeing is a confident Chinese toy industry. They anticipate that they will be the world leader in toy consumption. As a result the industry is anticipating 60% annual growth for the next few years and you can feel it in conversations and on the show floor.
When they find out I am from the U.S., the first thing they ask is about Toys “R” Us. Toys “R” Us China’s hundred plus stores are thriving so those I spoke with are a bit baffled by the parent company’s bankruptcy but not overly worried about what, if anything, comes next.
Western brands are very much in demand and as a result, the west is far better represented then when I was last here. I saw booths containing products from Crayola, Ravensburger, WowWee, Playmobil, Thinkfun, Lego, Mattel, Hasbro and JAKKS, just to name a few.
Some western toy companies have their own booths but most western brands choose to use Chinese distributors. Something more than necessary in a country whose markets are evolving so rapidly that one needs to run just to keep up with the changes.