Innovation key to high-quality development in Guangdong

By Wang Xu in Shenzhen, Guangdong and Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-06 07:22
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Canned lychees are produced at a factory in Maoming, Guangdong province. [PARKER ZHENG/CHINA DAILY]

Design center plays crucial role in southern province

Born to a wealthy family, Qiu Zhihong could have led an easy life, but that was not for him.

He acquired a taste for business when he refused to accept money from his father and started to earn a living by selling toys on the streets in New Zealand.

Qiu is the eldest son of the founder of Daye Plastic and Crafts Industrial Co, or Daye, a leading toy manufacturer in the Chenghai district of Shantou, Guangdong province.

"When I was a child, my father, who ran a toy factory, always said he wanted to sell toys worldwide. I thought it was my duty to fulfill that dream for him," Qiu said.

He added that he endured great hardship during his time overseas to progress from being a street vendor to a small supplier for a local Kmart branch.

"The path to success is said to be paved with thorns. I think this was definitely the case for me, as I remember calling a Kmart manager at least 100 times just to be given the chance to meet her," he said.

His perseverance finally paid off. Some 16 years after he first contacted Kmart, Daye won Kmart's Best Supplier Award last year. Qiu has gradually taken over the family enterprise from his father — transforming it from a traditional manufacturer to a creative and cultural leader in the industry.

Yet Qiu is only part of the high-quality development in Chenghai, which is known as China's toy and gift capital, where six out of every 10 toys in the nation are produced.

With China charting a course for high-quality development, a modern socialist country in all respects", Chenghai has worked over the years to become a leader for this initiative in Guangdong.

The toy industry in Chenghai, long plagued by problems of weak independent brands and a lack of leading enterprises in original intellectual property, underwent a tough upgrading and transformation, with some companies finally achieving success after several decades.

Backed by public service institutions, cooperation between industry and universities, and protection of intellectual property rights, Chenghai now boasts 42,300 business entities and more than 125,000 employees. The annual output of the toy industry in the district exceeds 50 billion yuan ($7.4 billion).

Data from the local bureau of commerce show that Chenghai's exports of toys and gifts last year grew by 33 percent year-on-year to 14 billion yuan.

Wang Chubin, the district's Party chief, said: "The toy industry in Chenghai is a major sector that serves as a pillar of the local economy. This industry is characterized by its large scale, high concentration, complete supply chain, and well-known brands, both domestically and internationally."

The increased industrial value and exports were mainly driven by intensified efforts in innovation, which eventually helped raise the added value of toy products, Wang said.

In the future, Chenghai will prioritize manufacturing and focus on promoting its toy production park, manufacturing intelligence, brand-building and diversified trade, Wang added.

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