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Shantou's Chenghai district named nation's 'toy and gift capital'

Updated: 2013-11-06 06:59
By Zhan Lisheng in Shantou, Guangdong ( China Daily)

The China National Light Industry Council and China Gift Association listed Shantou's Chenghai district as "China's toy and gift capital" in Beijing late last month, an honor marking a milestone in the district's toy industry, market analysts said.

The district has more than 5,000 toy firms, 30 of them capable of a yearly industrial output surpassing 100 million yuan ($16.39 million), official statistics show.

Four toy companies-Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co Ltd, Xinghui Auto Model Co Ltd, Huawei Scientific Technology Co Ltd and Guangdong Qunxing Toys Joint-Stock Co Ltd -make up 80 percent of China's all listed toy companies.

And the district has contributed about 20 percent of China's total toy exports in recent years with products in more than 140 countries and regions globally.

"I think the fact that Chenghai is leading the nation or even the world in innovative toy R&D is a crucial reason why they have bestowed the exclusive honor upon Chenghai," said Zeng Ganpu, a local publicity official.

And the district has taken a series of measures to make the industry grower bigger and stronger, the official said.

For example, the district has launched several public service platforms for local toy makers while supporting backbone enterprises to set up their own technological R&D facilities.

To date, the district has launched six service facilities including the Chenghai Toy Technological Innovation Center in cooperation with Guangdong University of Technology, Shantou University and South China University of Technology.

The district has also started seven patent service operations including the Chenghai Patent Information Research and Development Center.

"Toy firms can get easy access to advanced manufacturing technology and energy-efficient technology as well as modern management concepts," Zeng said. "The toy industry in the district has consequently seen an industrial upgrade."

Official statistics show Chenghai's toy sector has seven high-tech firms, 11 province-level technology-intensive companies, four corporate centers and three engineering centers.

"The district's strategy is to strengthen the competitive edge of the toy industry here," said the official.

And the district set up a special fund to support development of animation and culture industries with annual budget of 6 million yuan from 2008 to 2010.

To date, several toy firms including Huawei Scientific Technology, Loongon Animation & Toys, Feilun Scientific Technology and Aofei Cartoon have joined in the cooperative program with more than 40 animation TV series.

"The strategy has paid well off and the animation industry has taken shape," he said.

The revenue of the district's animation industry totaled 3.9 billion yuan in 2012, up 18 percent from the year previous.

Zeng said the local government also strives to protect intellectual property rights.

"The district views IPR protection as the lifeline of the toy industry," he said.

Three of its toy firms have entered the list of Guangdong's private sector enterprises with IPR advantages, with Alpha becoming one of China's IPR model enterprises.

One of its industrial parks is on the list of Guangdong's IPR pilot models.

The district has earmarked a budget of 5 million yuan yearly for marketing of smaller firms in recent years, Zeng said.

Other initiatives include setting up a toy exhibition center in Dubai, managing a toy exposition annually in Chenghai, encouraging toy firms to open retail outlets in big cities across the country and setting up an e-commerce platform.

The district government joined with the China Foreign Trade Center, organizer of Canton Fair, and Shantou Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau to hold a grand cocktail party during the 114th Canton Fair in Guangzhou in late October.

In another development, the district recently initiated construction of 42 key projects requiring 10.25 billion yuan in capital.

Among them are the first phase of a mega international toy complex worth 532 million yuan and toy manufacturing projects including a new production center at Qunxing Toys that required an initial investment of 210 million yuan and has a planned yearly industrial output of 500 million yuan.

Shantou's Chenghai district named nation's 'toy and gift capital'

Workers assemble toys in Chenghai. The district now produces about 20 percent of China's total toy exports. Photos by Zeng Ganpu / for China Daily