With the financial crisis and mounting concerns over child labor in China, many Chinese parents are struggling to buy toys for their children.
In a country where nearly 90 percent of all children have no formal schooling, it’s no wonder that China is experiencing a boom in toy production.
And the toys are going big.
“The Chinese consumer is looking for toys that are small and easy to put on and take off,” said James Lefevre, the president of the Consumer Council, an industry trade group.
In China, the average toy has a weight of about 2.5 kilograms, and toys weighing more than 5 kilograms are available for purchase at most stores.
“There are a lot of kids in China who are trying to get toys that they think are fun,” said Lefebvre.
Toys like those from the Chinese toy giant Mao sanBi are the best known for their size and functionality, but there are many other toys on the market that are also popular among children.
“Kids love these things,” said Khaosang, the marketing director for the toy brand Mao.
“I think it’s the perfect toy for a child.”
Some parents are trying something new with their kids’ toys, too.
At Toys R Us in the U.S., a child is free to choose between three different types of toys: Playmates, Pops and Playmates Plus, which have different sizes and features.
For example, the playmates toys are made of plastic with a metal frame.
Playmates’ Plus toys are more realistic, but are also cheaper.
“They are going to be able to buy smaller toys,” said Toys R U’s Kim Davis, who has been tracking the popularity of the toy over the past two years.
“And that’s why the Chinese are starting to invest more.”
Some children may have a preference, though.
A child of six years old recently picked up a new pair of Playmates.
“It’s a great toy, but I don’t want to go to the store,” said the child, who asked that her name not be used.
“Just because the price is cheaper than the other toys doesn’t mean it’s a better toy.”
The toys are still being made and sold in China and other countries, but they are still available for kids to buy in the United States, the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Toys R Universal, a toy store in New York City, is selling Playmates to children in China through an online sales platform called Toys R, and it’s still offering them to other countries through its website.
“This is a great opportunity for kids from other countries to get their hands on these toys,” Davis said.
“But the best part of it is that they are affordable.”
And the Toys R stores are not the only ones selling the toys.
Toys to Life in Chicago sells toys to China and Japan through its online sales portal, Toys to Love, which also sells the toys through its parent company, Toys R. The company says that the toys in its catalog are available in China for a price ranging from $14 to $60, depending on the toy.
Toys TLC in Chicago has also started selling the Toytoons line of PlayMates to Chinese customers.
Toytoon, which is made of PVC plastic with the tagline “Love and Joy,” is the only toy in the line with a name that doesn’t end in “L,” like the PlayMate line, but instead “T.”
The Toytoony line of toys comes in six sizes ranging from the tiny, which comes in a tiny bag, to the larger, which has three sizes of accessories and a rubber butt to keep the toy safe.
“Toytoon toys have a variety of different features and play styles,” said TLC CEO John Deacon.
“From toys that allow kids to interact with each other to toys that let kids build and play with each others toys, Toytoonic toys are a great way for children to learn about the world around them.”
Deacon says Toys to Live, a company that sells toys and accessories in stores and online, is also selling the toy line.
Toys Live says it’s also selling toys to kids in the Philippines and Hong Kong.
And Toytoonics in New Jersey sells toys for children ages 4 to 18.
“We want to bring toys to the children who can use them, and we have a huge catalog of toys that kids can find fun for their family,” said Lisa Hennig, Toys Live’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“That’s why we want to be a part of this initiative.”
While Toys to Save, an online retail marketplace that helps parents save on toys, is offering some toys for purchase in the US, Toys To Save does not sell toys for Chinese customers and its store in