NEW YORK - Chinese toy manufacturers, which produce around 75 percent of global toys each year, are rising up the value chain from original role as contract manufacturers by moving into designing and manufacturing products of their own brands.
Transformation in the making
"OEM (original equipment manufacturers) now is not a main business for us, though around 95 percent of Chinese toy producers still rely on OEM business," said Aaron Tong, sales manager with Playstream Education Limited, a subsidiary of Hangzhou ZT Model Company (HZTMC) based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in East China, in an interview with Xinhua during the four-day New York Toy Fair that ended on Tuesday.
HZTMC, producer and developer of airplane model and junior-oriented hobby products, is now co-branding over 10 products in international markets with partners from Spain, Portugal, Australia and Britain, according to Tong.
The company intends to phase out co-branding in the next few years. Tong said, "Many customers want to cooperate with us on OEM basis and we don't agree on that."
Founded by a former world remote controlled marine model champion in 2001, HZTMC is specialized in designing and producing various models, training, support of contests, incubation of technological start-ups, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) training and others.
Currently, HZTMC has over 200 employees including more than 30 researchers and engineering professionals, Tong said, and it is planning to hire more foreign professionals in 2019.
The Playsteam Education Limited has been registered in Britain for its designing team, he added.