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Dongguan Trendy Toys: Unleashing new quality productive forces in China's toy manufacturing industry

Dongguan, renowned as the "Capital of Chinese Trendy Toys" and a "Child-Friendly City," recently hosted the 14th China Children's Industry Development Conference and China Brand Licensing Annual Meeting (the Children's Industry Development Conference). The event brought together over 40 influential figures from the political, economic, and business sectors, alongside thousands of industry leaders. Their collective goal was to invigorate Dongguan as a manufacturing hub for trendy toys, infusing the city with renewed energy.

LAURA, a local Dongguan trendy toy IP.

The concept of new quality productive forces has gained prominence this year and deeply resonates with the manufacturers in Dongguan, according to Wen Guoxiong, Vice President of the China Toy and Juvenile Products Association. 

Trendy toys, often referred to as "Chaowan (潮玩)," represent a captivating blend of youth pop culture, designer aesthetics, and artistic elements within the toy industry. These cultural products have witnessed a substantial rise in popularity among consumers.

Dongguan's prominence in the toy manufacturing industry can be attributed to its remarkable achievements. With its roots dating back to the early stages of China's reform and opening up, the city boasts an impressive array of over 4,000 toy production enterprises and nearly 1,500 supporting businesses, solidifying its position as China's largest toy export base.

Statistics reveal that currently, one-fourth of the global anime derivative products are manufactured in Dongguan, and nearly 85 percent of trendy toys in China are produced there. In 2023, Dongguan's toy manufacturing industry encompassed 288 large-scale industrial enterprises, generating an output value of 26.217 billion yuan, with trendy toys accounting for nearly 20 billion yuan.

Dongguan's comprehensive toy manufacturing ecosystem spans various stages of the production chain, encompassing design, raw material supply, mold processing, component manufacturing, assembly, packaging, and decoration. This well-established production chain, bolstered by robust infrastructure, provides a solid foundation for the transformation and advancement of the toy industry in Dongguan.

The emergence of leading enterprises such as DeShen (TOYCITY), LeZhiBao (LAMTOYS), and Shunlin Model exemplifies the remarkable progress made in Dongguan. These companies have embraced a comprehensive industry chain model, integrating "original IP + design production + sales promotion." This approach has enabled them to expand their operations beyond manufacturing, encompassing upstream IP design and operation, as well as downstream sales promotion, thereby extending their influence into the high-end segments of the industry value chain.

In Dongguan, trendy toys unlock a world of possibilities, seamlessly blending elements of culture, communication, and consumer engagement. Today, Dongguan's trendy toys not only symbolize the transformation and advancement of the toy manufacturing industry but also serve as a vibrant reflection of the city itself. They have become a remarkable embodiment of Dongguan's status as an international manufacturing hub.

Planned | Jin Yanming

Reporter | Xie Maishi, Zhang Qianqian

Pictures | Gong Mingyang

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