China’s toy industry is well known both for its cheap price and the quality problem. However, there is no denying that China is the top toy manufacturer around the world. The value of Chinese toy production amounts to EUR 80 bn, quintupling the one of the EU. It is estimated that the toy industry employs around 128,000 workers in China. Thus, it is unavoidable for foreign importers to choose China as their toy supplier. And there are some issues that the foreign importers should take into consideration.
Problems facing Chinese toy manufacturingIP issues
From the report of competitiveness of the European toys industry, it is estimated that in the period of 2010-2011, there were on file “872 infringement cases of toys with a retail value of € 16 million and 2,585 infringement cases for games with a retail value of € 20 million. The two main countries of origin are China (88%) and Hong Kong (10%).“
Chinese toy manufacturing is now challenged by the IP infringement, which scares away a bunch of collaborators who are afraid of undermining their own IPs and clients who are concerned about involving in litigation.Substandard issues
Due to the gap between a Chinese toy manufacturing standard and the international standard, the toys made in China can not meet the standards in foreign land. For example, in China, there are no specific requirements for DEHP - a toxic plasticizer - however the European standards include one, let alone those even far below the line of national standard. It is a ticking bomb that gets on foreign importers’ nerve.Pollution issues
It is a very common problem in the Chinese manufacturing industry, without exception of the toy manufacturing. Read more about it in this interesting article - China Has to Pay the Price of Economic Success - Industrial Pollution
How to check the Chinese toy suppliers is reliable.
It is very necessary to use the intellectual property inspection services the third party inspection company offer. The third party inspection company can give you an overview of the supplier, inform you of whether the supplier institutes the leakage prevention system, offer you with the detailed information of the on-site facility, so you can make sure your supplier do not make substandard toys . Besides, you can also obtain the supplier’s information technology system which has the checking of antivirus software to ensure it is prevented form hacking.
The regulation environment in China
There is a piece of good news to share about the toy production regulation. In 2014, the Chinese government formulated four new national toy-safety standards aiming to bring Chinese standards of toys designed for kids under 14 years old in line with the international one, especially the stricter European requirements. In a hope of improving the toy exporting and ensure the safety of toys, the new rules, which will take effect on Jan 1, 2016, adopt stricter requirements, like stricter requirements for noise and flammability. What’s more, if the suppliers produce toys that are up to the new standard before the mandatory date, the authorities will make the pioneers public and let more consumers know. Generally speaking, it will take some time for China to put the new rules into effect, however the regulation environment for toy manufacturing is picking up.