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Vietnam toy market hurting for customers, expertise

Several local companies admitted that Vietnam’s toy market is still in need of customers, despite the effort of many firms to produce high-quality, safe toys.

Several local companies admitted that Vietnam’s toy market is still in need of customers, despite the effort of many firms to produce high-quality, safe toys.
Several local companies admitted that Vietnam’s toy market is still in need of customers, despite the effort of many firms to produce high-quality, safe toys.

The number of qualified local toy firms with structured investment can be counted on your fingers. Experts suggest that Vietnamese companies must focus on producing unique toys that external firms are unable to produce, and must improve weaknesses in terms of product design, production technologies and marketing strategies.

A lot of potential, a lack of investment

Vo Van Duc Bay, deputy director of the Cho Lon Plastic Company in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 8, said that customers have tended to use locally-made products and seek Vietnamese toys in recent years.

This is why the firm has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in more machinery to produce smart puzzle toys made of polypropylene (PP) plastic, with nearly 200 categories.

The company also produces 500 different types of vehicles for children. The prices for these products are 20 to 30 percent lower compared to those produced by China, and 59 to 70 percent lower compared to toys imported from Japan, South Korea or Taiwan.

The colors of these toys are also catchy, to attract children’s attention.

Another company, Duc Thanh Wood Processing JSC in Go Vap District, has gained fame thanks to its Winwintoys for children over 1 year old. The toys are made of wood and can be used for many purposes, such as learning and playing.

Le Hong Thang, the firm’s director, said that many Vietnamese parents now pay attention to locally made toys, mainly because they are scared of the toxic substances used in Chinese toys that could harm their children.

The toy market is expected to grow from 15 to 20 percent each year, but there are currently fewer than 10 qualified firms that can produce high quality wood toys, Thang asserted.

Other local companies that produce toys include TOSY Robotics JSC, ETIC Vietnam Production and Trading JSC, and Phu Bach Viet JSC.

Besides only 20 toy companies that have a quality stamp issued by Quacert, an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology in charge of certificating products, there are hundreds of firms that produce toys without any standards.

Weaknesses and difficulties

Thang said the toy field only welcomes people who are devoted and determined, as producing children’s toys is complicated and requires many standards, while domestic firms still lack material sources and design ability.

“A high quality toy might have dozens or hundreds of details that require a company to have a large-scale production and investment,” Bay, from the Cho Lon Plastic Company, asserted.

Toys must meet safety standards, including ‘substances and size to ensure the safety of children.’ According to Thang, toy firms must follow strict production processes and clearly understand the chemical properties of each material.

The cost of raw materials is also a problem that hinders local firms from producing high-quality products for children, Thang added, not to mention the lack of design creativity.

An expert in the toy field who wished to remain anonymous said that domestic enterprises can’t produce enough new products to meet customer demand.

“A big toy company spends around two months producing a new product, while customers always need toys with new designs as soon as possible,” he added.

Imported toys can be found on shelves at many big shops and shopping malls, while locally made toys are often sold at bookstores, supermarkets and small shops. Local firms still lack effective marketing strategies and distribution methods.

A representative from Big C supermarket stated that local toys are very limited and lack diversity.

“Some products are even more expensive compared to imported toys, while customers tend to consider the price every time they buy something for their children,” Ho Quoc Nguyen, external relations director of Big C, shared.