Opportunities for Toys makers/brands in China

The toy market in China is one of the most competitive markets around with great potential. It’s no wonder why international companies are fighting to enter into this lucrative industry, and it will be very interesting to see how they fare against each other now that tariffs have been introduced on Chinese imports. In this post, we are going to take a closer look at what makes this market so attractive and some of the best strategies to succeed as toy sellers/producers in China.

Overview of the Chinese toy market

The Chinese toy market has been steadily growing over the years, reaching $48.3 Billion in 2020 and expected to achieve a whopping $61.3 by 2026! These toys are made of different materials like electronic, mechanical plastic, or wood but some even include high-tech features such as internet connectivity that keep kids entertained for hours (or how about adults?). This demand is only going up as China’s disposable income rises and people have more time to spend on leisure activities. China is the world’s largest toy manufacturer, churning out almost 70% of all toys for playtime. China also has one of the biggest markets around in terms of buying power and consumption.

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China Video Games Industry

The video game industry has really exploded over the past few years, as tech advances and more people spend on games. As China’s technology improves and virtual reality becomes increasingly popular in a country where gamers are often highly competitive with one another for prize money or bragging rights, consumer spending is steadily increasing.

As of now (2021) there is some uncertainty with the latest law preventing under 18 to play videos games online more than a few hours a week and how will videos games companies implement the regulation.

Read more about the Chinese Video game industry with this complete guide

Plush Toy and Dolls

Dolls and stuffed toys have shown impressive growth in 2019 with a revenue of US$11,167 million in 2021 and an expected +6% growth annually by 2026.

There has been a significant increase in demand for construction sets and models, this may be due to schools closing down during lockdown periods of the country, for parents, these items were seen as an excellent way to entertain children while they are locked inside their homes with nothing else to do.

Other Toys segments worth looking at for the Chinese market:

  • Construction Sets & Models: revenue $130 millions in 2021
  • Card Games: Revenue US$1,427million in 2021
  • Puzzle: US$1,322million in 2021
  • Plastic & Others Toys: US$13,911million in 2021

Chinese Consumers want better toy for their kids

As the global economy slows, consumers are demanding higher-quality products that offer unique features. This is a great opportunity for foreign toy brands to distinguish themselves in China where most domestic toys lack power and overseas companies have an edge on reliability.

Although China is struggling to maintain the country’s birth rate, the toy market does not seem to be impacted. Parents of single kids want the best for their offspring and do not cheap out when it comes to it. The educational toys market is particularly interested to look at considering the extremely competitive Chinese society. Kids from the youngest age are set to compete against each other for the best outcome in life and those teaching toys are becoming an integral part of parents’ strategy to get their children on the podium.

Online Sales of toys in China:

The rise of livestreaming and social commerce has helped to fuel strong demand for online shopping and this effect can be observed pretty clearly with the Chinese toys market.

Lego Live streaming

Online retail sales in China’s toy market reached 24.77 billion yuan, accounting for 32.6% of the total last year alone- up 3.9 percentage points from 2018. In 2019, online shopping accounted for a major chunk of the Chinese Toy Market with an output value reaching $24 billion dollars – a whopping 33% increase over 2018

Digital strategy for marketing your brand in the Chinese market

There are two ways you can get your products into the Chinese toy market: through intermediaries and via online platforms, but both have their own benefits and drawbacks. Working with intermediary agents is great if you don’t wish to have an entity in China and are looking for a distribution model where you have little control over your merchandise but don’t have to worry about marketing (or so distributors will tell you). The other option, direct selling (either via online channel or in a brick & mortar store) is a bit more troublesome at first as you need a lot of setting up but in the long term is a lot more beneficial and gives you full control over every aspect of you brand in China.

Either way, you’ll need to work on your online reputation and visibility. No serious Chinese distributors will work with you if they can’t find information about your reliability on the internet. Keep in mind, distributors are looking for quick money, and the best way to do so is to distribute brand that already has awareness on the Chinese market. If your toy brand is reputable it will make it a lot easier for you to land a deal with Chinese toys sellers, toys store and so on. And same goes for direct selling. If you want any chance to sell any toy at all, then you’ll need to work on that reputation, an online store on Tmall alone won’t do it.

To sell Toy in China you need a strong Online reputation

Chinese customers are very particular about the brands they buy from. They always check to make sure that their purchases will be of a high quality, which is why it can take them longer than Westerners or other foreigners who don’t care as much about what brand items come from. Brands rely on reputations in China because people have needed to trust companies before purchasing products and services; this means if you want your company’s brand name known by Chinese consumers, then you need good enough branding so that people know exactly where it came from. In other words, the reputation of a brand is a crucial element in a company’s growth strategy in China.

Chinese customers are hyper-connected and very sensitive to the opinions of their peers on different social networks or forums. However, they typically have a high degree of trust in companies that produce quality products at reasonable prices. To become trusted by Chinese consumers, you need an informative marketing strategy with which you can promote your good image as well as get more visibility for both yourself and your business among these potential new clients.

Promote your Toys Brand with a Chinese website

To further your business in China, you must establish an online presence. The web is a powerful resource for the Chinese people and it’s imperative that they are able to find what they’re looking for with ease on their own website if possible. Websites hosted in China should have Mandarin translations as well as interactive graphics tailored specifically to this culture so you can reach more customers while respecting the traditions of those who may be browsing through your site.
The key takeaway from this passage would be how important establishing an online presence is not only when expanding into new markets but also maintaining one’s current customer base outside of mainland China by optimizing content accordingly across platforms

Baidu SEO & SEM Key to get Visibility on the Chinese Internet

The search engine used in China is not Google, but Baidu. In fact, this company holds 72% of the market share with regards to searches made by Internet users. SEO – or Search Engine Optimization- has become an important way for websites to attract visitors because it takes seconds before a website goes from being on page one of your browser’s list down near the bottom and you never see them again when something new pops up in its place!

There are multiple ways to get the highest ranking in search engine results pages, but it all depends on your budget. Paid advertising is one popular method for many companies because you only pay when someone clicks through and visits your site- meaning that if nobody sees them or they don’t click anything then there’s no money spent at all!


The SEO goal of a company is usually to gain as high of placement within Baidu searches as possible by targeting specific keywords. One other way some businesses advertise their products online is with paid advertising which can include PPC (pay per click) aka Paid Advertising where ads appear higher than natural listings – especially true for sites like Baidu.

Increase your Toys Brand Awareness with Chinese Social media

The Chinese social media market is a behemoth. More than 90% of the population there has an account on one or more networks, and having a strong presence will increase your chances of becoming viral through those channels. For this to happen, you can share content across both WeChat and Weibo’s large platforms in China with our help!

Digital marketing in China has its pros and cons. Different social media are used for different purposes, but most importantly an official account on these platforms is necessary to appear more legitimate than those who do not have one. These channels allow companies to share stories with their audience as well as advertise themselves through paid content if they choose- the sky’s the limit!

Localization: the Lego Case Study

Lego has been in China for a really long time (1993) and has encountered many challenges, the main one being to compete against counterfeit selling at a much cheaper price. Not only does Lego work on its reputation in the country: safety first but also focused on offering China a fully localized experience and product line.

In terms of localization, it’s important to mention Lego’s Chinese name. Lego’s Chinese name, “Legao,” is the result of playing with words in both English and Mandarin. The two characters used to form Lego are 乐高 which when translated from Mandarin means happiness or cheerfulness. This adds a sense of joy that translates well into our home-building toys! (We can help you come up with a great Chinese name for your brand as well!)

The iconic Danish toy company Lego invested a lot of time and effort to broaden its product range in China. In 2000, they began producing watches, umbrellas, posters as well as featuring adverts for the toys in the Chinese children’s magazine “Milaoshu”.

Lego – Great Wall Set on Tmall

Lego’s designers in China have a new idea to attract more attention- what if people could play with the Lego products before they buy them? a 1st store was opened in Beijing with 2/3 of its space dedicated to playing with all sorts of cool toys followed by another one in Shanghai. These initiatives seem successful because their sales increased by about 50% between 2010 and 2012! in 2018, Lego went from 10 stores to 60. The brand has ambitious plans to release new Chinese culture-inspired sets and is working on having 300 Lego stores in mainland China by the end of 2021.

It is not the first time Lego China releases China Edition sets. One example is sets of blocks that portray scenes such as the Dragon Dance and a traditional New Year celebration. The company also added constructions like China’s Great Wall or Shanghai…

Trust SEO Agency China to promote your Toys Brand in China

GMA, a digital marketing agency located in Shanghai specializes in the development and elaboration of the marketing and digital strategies of companies to help this latter to develop and promote their activities in China. Our international team of 40 experts makes us an ideal agency to develop your interests in China.

Our services:

  • Online marketing
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  • Tmall

Read more about doing business in China:

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  1. Great article, congrats. 80% of toy are made in China in Europe for sure.
    And now, it is time for Chinese people to play with the toy .
    Toy business is really great , according to experts that come to my club.

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