Business / Macro

Children toy with new forms of leisure

By Shen Jingting, Chen Limin and Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-28 08:01

The hottest items included handheld game consoles, Hasbro Inc's interactive robotic Furby toy and plastic Talking Tom Cat that can recite poems, tell stories and sing.

About 40 percent of the buyers in this category are aged between 30 and 34. "They are parents with children and most of the things they buy are children's toys," said Taobao in an e-mail to China Daily.

Game consoles followed with a 269 percent year-on-year increase in sales in December. The number of shoppers that bought this category more than quintupled from a year earlier.

Products of Microsoft Corp, Nintendo Co and Sony Corp were the most popular, attracting mainly male buyers aged between 18 and 29, said Taobao.

Tablet computers, which enjoy great popularity among Chinese tech-savvy users, also saw a 45 percent rise in sales in December compared with the same period in 2011. Although those aged between 18 and 29 formed the largest proportion of buyers of this category, some vendors tried to cash in on younger customers.

A search on Taobao for children's tablet computers shows more than 1,800 items. They look like a handheld game console or Apple Inc's iPad, but combine the functions of learning and entertainment.

"The reason electronic devices capture children's attention is because they are innovative, easily satisfy their curiosity and have powerful functions," said Zhang Chao, an electronic product vendor in Beijing's Zhongguancun district.

Successful marketing campaigns are necessary weapons for electronic companies to win in the children's market, Zhang said. "Take Apple for example. It offered free iPads to schools and launched ads on China's most popular cartoon TV channel. Those moves helped Apple products penetrate children's lives," he added.

Amusing applications

Wang Lirong, a Beijing mother who has a 5-year-old daughter, said: "I did not show my daughter any Apple product but one day, after watching some cartoons, she asked me to buy her an iPad, saying 'It looks fun'."

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