A partnership of Black American and Chinese manufacturers will take the market by storm.
The toy and baby industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. However, it’s important to realize that it has been dominated by White Americans for over a century. But what if I told you that the toy and baby industry is ripe for disruption?
It’s an understatement to say that Black America spends billions of dollars every year on toys and babies — but they don’t always get what they want.
Chinese manufacturers have been quietly filling the gap in providing quality toys and baby products for Black America. What are their secrets? About eighty percent of the toys sold in the United States are manufactured in China. In 2021, China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA) said ‘the United States maintains its position as the top importer of toy and baby products made in China last year. Exports to the US rose from 6.8 percent to 8.57 billion US dollars.
Toy manufacturers in China are classified in several different ways, which include animal-shaped toys, baby silicone products, games, and bilingual clocks. Although Chinese toys are carrying these labels, toy manufacturers in China still lag behind foreign toy makers. Branding and innovative product design need to catch up. Some mainland manufacturers strive to stand out in the toy market through product differentiation in areas such as the trendy educational toy sectors. Therefore, should Chinese toy manufacturers consider a partnership with Black Americans regarding branding and innovative product design?
The toy and baby products industry is an excellent and profitable niche market. The exchange of ideas between Black American and Chinese companies can provide the framework for a competent business model, somewhere down the line. Looking ahead, should Black America create toy and baby products trade delegations to attend CTJPA events in 2021 and beyond?
My perspective on the trend and demand for cartoon-like toys and classic family games would benefit Black-owned businesses and Chinese manufacturers alike, through collaborative joint projects. One problem I have recognized has come from COVID-19. Overseas manufacturers cannot conduct face-to-face dialogues with the intent to formalize merchandise agreements.
In light of the above mentioned, a profitable solution is in order. Both groups must demonstrate an interest in designing and producing a line of innovative toy and baby products. Openness or transparency must be an integral part of dealings between black and Chinese companies.
In addition, as a gesture of goodwill, Black America should form a toy and baby products trade delegation to collaborate with CJTPA member manufacturers. Actions like these from both sides would surely pique the interest of critical stakeholders with the goal in mind of developing these joint ventures.
As we speak and without hesitation, Chinese manufacturers are shifting their toy and baby products from the export market to domestic online sales channels. The CTJPA notes that the share of online sales continues to increase in the domestic market. In 2020, online toy sales reached 26.9-billion-yuan, accounting for 34.5 percent of online sales revenue.
Livestreaming has also become a vibrant channel for consumers to purchase toys. Therefore, CTJPA’s innovative business model demonstrates an interest in expanding its members’ domestic market share while focusing on social media promotion campaigns.
Of the millions of Black business owners in the US, virtually none attended CTJPA events, pre-COVID. This is unfortunate but could also be interpreted as an opportunity. Black businesses, State-side, have had no exposure to these manufacturers in China and vice versa.
That said, CTJPA can play a pivotal role in creating potential collaborative opportunities through its social media campaigns. In the present situation, foreign buyers and domestic manufacturers will have to rely on social media outreach programs through CTJPA, such as their Certified Supplier Initiative (CSI) factory tours.
So, where does Black America fit into China’s toy and baby products industry? Some would argue that regardless of cultural differences, toys and baby products have an economic benefit that should encourage both groups to form a partnership within this industry.
In like manner, Black American and Chinese manufacturers can nurture the same mutual interest in the toy and baby products industry. Going forward neither would lag behind competitive toymakers regarding brand and innovative product design.
Although this may be speculation, toy manufacturing in China is an unknown business practice to most Black Americans. Black and Chinese companies, consequently, are oblivious to a partnership, sure to produce abundance. A joint initiative between a Black America trade group and Chinese manufacturers to brand and produce innovative products is necessary because of its potential contribution to this industry in 2021 and beyond.
This article was written for BlackAsiaMagazine by
William D. Frazier
99 Wanding Road Shanghai, China 201104
Mobile: +86 159 2110 4881