Toys are displayed at a cultural and tourism industrial park in Chenghai District of Shantou City, south China's Guangdong Province, Dec. 1, 2021. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)
GUANGZHOU, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- After posting a video of a bucket-wheel excavator building block toy, YouTuber Thomas Panke received over 100,000 views within two hours and a thank-you letter from thousands of miles away.
The sender, Yuxing Technology Industry Co., Ltd., is the manufacturer of the toy, located in Chenghai District of Shantou City, south China's Guangdong Province.
Chenghai is a major toy manufacturing base. Dubbed China's "toy capital," it is home to over 10,000 toy companies, with roughly 130,000 workers engaged in these businesses, creating an annual output value of toy-related products of over 50 billion yuan (about 7.9 billion U.S. dollars).
To cater to the rising demand for toys during the annual peak season, Chenghai's production lines have been rumbling round the clock for the past four months.
"The error tolerance of the building blocks we produce is less than one-tenth of a hair," said Xie Weichun, the company's general manager.
According to Xie, their production, sorting and packaging are highly automated, and products must pass rigorous standard checks in the form of scans similar to B-mode ultrasound imaging, which has significantly improved both their efficiency and quality.
"Now a worker can take charge of four production lines and several hands can manage the workload of hundreds of workers in the old days," said Lin Zezhe, general manager of Sembo Block, another company specializing in producing high-quality building blocks. "Our warehouses are also getting smarter, where robotic hands are deployed to sort products.
To overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the toy industry, the local authorities have been actively supporting the upgrading the toy industry and helping enterprises build sales platforms as well as open up new sales channels.
Xiaoniao Cloud, an online toy display and ordering system developed by Guangdong Hoton Business Exhibition Co., was launched in February 2020 to help toy companies trade directly with overseas clients.
Now over 2.1 million toys from about 44,000 companies have been added to the platform to build a massive online showroom that can be accessed online around the globe, generating an estimated trade volume of over 10 billion yuan over the past year.
In the first three quarters of 2021, the toy production value of Chenghai hit 9.29 billion yuan, while from January to July this year, the district exported toys worth 2.73 billion yuan, accounting for 56.64 percent of the district's total exports.
In Xie's view, as traditional sales channels remain restricted, the global e-commerce market is taking shape, and countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East are accelerating their embrace of e-commerce.
"This year, we established cooperation with global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, AliExpress and Lazada, and our products have been sold to more than 100 countries and regions around the world," Xie added.
A new toy industrial park is also being planned in Chenghai to promote the development of the industry, encourage and support enterprises to obtain more high-end IP licensing, and accelerate the integration of toys with animation and games, films and TV shows.
After receiving the letter of thanks, Panke replied quickly, expressing his willingness to learn more about the company's products.
"We hope more toys made in Chenghai can ride the waves of e-commerce and bring laughter to families around the world," Xie said. ■