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Though afar, toys ride e-commerce from their 'capital' to overseas

China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-16 09:55
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An employee of a toy company in Chenghai district, Shantou, Guangdong province, promotes toys via livestreaming on Dec 2. [Photo/Xinhua]

GUANGZHOU-After posting a video of a bucket-wheel excavator building block toy, YouTube contributor Thomas Panke received over 100,000 views within two hours and a thank-you letter from afar.

The sender, Yuxing Technology Industry Co Ltd, is the manufacturer of the toy. The firm is located in the Chenghai district of Shantou in South China's Guangdong province.

Chenghai is a major toy manufacturing base. Dubbed China's "toy capital", it is home to over 10,000 toy companies, with roughly 130,000 workers engaged in the business, creating an annual output value of toy-related products worth over 50 billion yuan ($7.9 billion).

To cater to the rising demand for toys recently, Chenghai's production lines have been rumbling round the clock during the past four months.

"The error tolerance of the building blocks we produce is less than one-tenth of a hair," said Xie Weichun, the company's general manager.

Xie said their production, sorting and packaging are highly automated. Products must pass rigorous standard checks in the form of scans similar to B-mode ultrasound imaging, significantly improving both their efficiency and quality.

"Now a worker can take charge of four production lines and several hands can manage the workload of hundreds of workers in the old days," said Lin Zezhe, general manager of Sembo Block, another company specializing in producing high-quality building blocks. "Our warehouses are also getting smarter, where robotic hands are deployed to sort products.

To overcome the impact of COVID-19 on the toy industry, local authorities have been actively supporting upgrades of the industry and helping enterprises build sales platforms as well as open up new sales channels.

Xiaoniao Cloud, an online toy display and ordering system developed by Guangdong Hoton Business Exhibition Co, was launched in February 2020 to help toy companies trade directly with overseas clients.

Over 2.1 million toys from about 44,000 companies have been added to the platform to build a massive online showroom that can be accessed around the globe, generating an estimated trade volume of over 10 billion yuan in the past year.

In the first three quarters, the toy production value of Chenghai hit 9.29 billion yuan. From January to July, the district exported toys worth 2.73 billion yuan, accounting for 56.64 percent of the district's total exports.

In Xie's view, as traditional sales channels remain restricted, the global e-commerce market is taking shape. Countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East are accelerating their embrace of e-commerce.

"This year, we established cooperation with global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, AliExpress and Lazada, and our products have been sold to more than 100 countries and regions around the world," Xie added.

A new toy industrial park is also being planned in Chenghai to promote the development of the industry, encourage and support enterprises to obtain more high-end intellectual property licensing, and accelerate the integration of toys with animation and games, films and TV shows.

After receiving the letter of thanks, Panke replied quickly, expressing his willingness to learn more about the company's products. "We hope more toys made in Chenghai can ride the waves of e-commerce and bring laughter to families around the world," Xie said.


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