importing toys from China

Importing Toys From China: A Complete Guide

As people always say, when a product is about women and children, the market will never die. Toy is one of such markets. China is the biggest export country of toy in the world. A newbie will definitely encounter some challenges when it comes to importing toys from China.

Some of such challenges include:

  • Lack of familiarity with the market
  • Poor knowledge about the types of toys to sell to a particular market
  • ​Finding the right supplier
  • Compliance and Safety regulations

However, importing toys from China is not as complicated as portrayed above. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide by shedding light on how you can research your market, select the right products and also find the right suppliers. You will also discover some compliance and safety regulations for top toy-importing countries from China.

How to Research Your Market

  • Use Comtrade To Get Trade Data

Comtrade gives a free access to detailed global trade data. It is a repository of official international trade statistics as well as relevant analytical tables. The data on comtrade can be accessed via API.

To know how to use comtrade to get trade data, I advise that you watch this video: 

UN-Comtrade--International-Trade-Statistics

In the screens hot above, I made the following selections:

  • Year: 2016
  • Reporters: All
  • ​Partners: China, and
  • Trade flows: Import.

The general HS code for toys all over the world is 950300. We got results as below:

TO-10-Countries-Toy-Trade-Statistics

The table above shows the top 10 regions for importing toys from China. We will talk about the Compliance and Safety of those top importing regions later.

As you can see in the table, America imports the largest volume of toys from China. We can compare the last 5 year trade data to see the trends on US market. The result is as shown in the table below. Every year, the market increased by hundreds of millions of Dollars. There was a breakthrough in 2015(1.2 billons).

If you’re in the industry already you would definitely know what happened in 2015 -that’s right the balancing scooter or hover board!

UN-Comtrade--International-Trade-Statistics
  • Use Google Trends

The use of Google Trends was introduced in this article. You can use Google Trends to validate your product ideas. It tracks the terms that people search for. You can refine the search results by using time period and location to see the relative popularity of search terms at a glance.

Google Trends will give you insights into the different search terms that have changed across time. It will also give you an idea about the trends changing within the last few hours or days.

Let’s move to the Google Trends for hover board.

hoverboard---Explore---Google-Trends

…And balancing scooter trends.

balancing-scooter-Explore-Google-Trends

As you can see the hoverboard and balancing scooter trends have reached the peak during November and December in 2015. After that the trends were going down in a very short time. As a result, you can see this product is no longer a good option for you.

Decide what to sell

  • Categories of Toys

There are lots of categories of toys manufactured in China. However, it’s hard to categorize some as toys. The table as below will help you to identify your product. If it is a toy then you can move forward with the toys standard in your country.

Product Scope For Chinese Toys

1Infant toys
2Teethers and pacifiers
3Arts and crafts
4Experimental sets
5Stuffied and textiles toys
6Rocking horses and ride-on toys
7Games, puzzles and books
8Toy chests
9Magnetic toys
10Toys guns and projectile toys
11Costumes and accessories (eg Halloween costume , Mask)
12Battery operated toys
13Electrical toys
14Tableware for kids
15Bicycles and scooter
16Activity toy for domestic use
  • Keep an eye on your niche

Back in April 2015 more and more videos about celebrities playing hoverboard was shared on the internet, that including Jamie Foxx made an entrance on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon riding a hoverboard.

Jamie-Foxx-and-Jimmy-Fallon-Ride-The-PhunkeeDuck---YouTube

After June, lots of YouTube influencer were talking about the hoverboard, including YouTube film maker- Casey Neistat.

Hands-Free-Segway

In the meantime, major news were blogged about hoverboard such as wired.com

The-Weird-Origin-Story-of-the-Viral--Dangerous-Hoverboard

Let’s hover to Google Trends again. In July, the trends looked as shown below:

balancing-scooter-Explore--Google-Trends

The chart above shows that this is going to be viral. Thus, you should be in so much money by now if you discovered the potential of this toy and imported them earlier than your competitors. But even if you missed this time, don’t complain. Opportunities will come again as long as you’re well prepared.

Where to Find Manufacturers and Suppliers of Toys in China

I briefly mentioned the toy industry and where you can wholesale toys in China However, you might be wondering why so much area were mentioned and may need just a single place to get your toys from. I’ll fix that in this section.

As with other products manufactured in China, toys have their own places of origin. Irrespective of where you are in China or if you are searching for Chinese suppliers via online platforms, you need to pay attention to where suppliers are located. Toys made in China are majorly produced in 5 places. However, I’ll discuss just one place- Chenghai.

Chenghai is a district of Shantou city which is located in Guangdong Province. It is referred to as the world’s capital of toys.

Shantou-chenghai-map

If you specialize in toys business and often buy in huge quantity, then Chenghai is the best place to source your toys from. You can find anything related to toy- toy companies and factories, everywhere in this city.

To find toys manufacturers in Chenghai, I mentioned earlier in how to register a company in China that most small and medium sized companies have three different options in naming their businesses.

For instance, my company name is Shenzhen Sourcingbro Technology Co., Ltd. Shenzhen is the city name. For companies name in Chenghai it should like:

Shantou xxx Toys Co., Ltd. etc.

Let’s move to alibaba.com and search the keywords “Shantou toys” and then choose supplier in the search bar.

Shantou-Toys-Suppliers---Reliable-Shantou-Toys-Suppliers-and-Manufacturers-at-Alibaba

We got 502 suppliers. After taking a look at these suppliers, we discovered that they are all from Shantou.

Shantou-Toys-Suppliers---Reliable-Shantou-Toys-Suppliers-and-Manufacturers

Having 500 toys suppliers gathered in the same place is incredible. Instead of traveling through China from here to there, visiting suppliers in Chenghai will be definitely convenient for you and also save you money and time.

So far, you must have learnt how to find toy suppliers in China but you might encounter challenges when you need to source for specific toys which you do not know their names. Such toys may be difficult to find. Don’t worry click here to get this problem fixed.

How to Get to Chenghai from Shenzhen

You can get to Chenghai from Shenzhen via train and road. In case you plan to travel by car, you can see the driving route and distance between Chenghai and Bao’an International Airport (SZX) by car on the map below:

Shenzhen-to-Shantou

If you go through the route shown on the graph above, the driving distance is 399 km with an approximate driving time of 4 hours. But if you’re alone and just came to China, I would suggest you go to Shantou city via train. There are 68 high speed trains from Shenzhen North Station to Chaoshan Station from 7 am -10pm (Seacond seat price is 89.5yuan, 2 and half hour journey).

Note that there is no direct train to Shantou City. You need to alight from the train at Chaoshan Station and take bus/taxi to Shantou City, but normally Chinese suppliers are always willing to pick you up in the station. Just notify them before you go.

Toy Fair in China

  • Chenghai Toy Fair

Since 1999, the China Chenghai International Toys and Gifts Fair (CCITF) has been successfully held for 18 sessions. This year, the fair is jointly organized by the China Chamber of International Commerce, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Arts-Crafts (CCCLA), the CCPIT Chenghai sub-council and Guangdong P.A. Modern Logistics Investment Co., Ltd.

Due to its internationalism, professionalism and commercialism, the toy fair has become of the three most professional toy fairs that take place in Mainland China. This year, the fair will take place between April 28th to May 1st, 2017 at The first phase P.A. City, Chenghai, Shantou City, Guangdong, China.

  • Canton Fair Phase 2 (23rd-27th April; 23th-27th October2017)

The Canton Fair, also known as China Import and Export Fair, was established in 1957. The fair is a comprehensive international trading event that has the largest scale, the most detailed exhibit variety with the largest buyer attendance, the largest distribution of buyers’ source country as well as the greatest business turnover in China.

Products that are usually exhibited include:

  • Baby Toys
  • Electromotive, Remote Controlling and Clockwork Toys
  • ​Action Toys
  • ​Educational Games & Toys
  • ​Plush and Cloth Toys
  • ​Dolls
  • ​Riding Toys: Children’s Ride, Babe Carriages, Mini Bicycles
  • ​Musical Toys
  • ​Inflatable Toys
  • HKTDC Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair (8-11th January 2018 (Monday – Thursday)

The HKTDC Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair also exhibit toys. It’s a great place for

importers to find suppliers for their business.

The next event will take place between the 8th to 11th January, 2018. The products that are being exhibited at this fair include:

  • Educational Toys & Games
  • Electronic & Remote Control Toys
  • Multiple Toys Products
  • World of Outdoor & Sporting Goods
  • Paper Products & Toy Packaging
  • Pet Toys
  • Festive & Party Items
  • ​Smart-Tech Toys
  • Soft Toys & Dolls
  • ​Firework
  • China-Toy-Expo (October 18-20, 2017 in Shanghai)

It is an international trade fair for toys and baby items in Asia. It gives international manufacturers access to the Chinese market and enables exhibitors to get in touch with visitors to deepen business relations.

Products exhibited at the expo include:

  • Stuffed toys and dolls
  • Educational toys
  • Electronic toys
  • Hobby & model construction toys
  • Non electronic plastic toys
  • Outdoor sporting items
  • Preschool education
  • Wooden toys
  • Indoor and outdoor playground

Compliance and Safety When Importing Toys from China

Since toy products are mostly used by children, many countries in the world have strict regulations and high requirement for them. One of the biggest challenges encountered in importing toys from China are certificate and safety.

Different countries have diverse standards that are required for toys to be imported. Below are some of the certifications that are required by top toy-importing countries:

  • United states (ASTM F963-11)

The first three sets of ASTM F963 are mechanical or physical testing, flammability testing and chemical testing. Another certification is CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) which caters for lead and phthalates test as well as labeling test.

  • Europe (EN71)

Toys that are being taken to Europe need to pass Toy Safety Directive (EN71) and must also have a CE mark. Electronic toys need to passEN62115.

  • Japan (ST2012)

The new Japan Toy Safety Standard ST2012 was published in October, 2012 and was effective on the 1st of January, 2013. The former version (the 11th edition) remained valid until March 31, 2014. Under the new standard, some physical and mechanical requirements were modified to meet ISO 8124 Part 1 and EN71 Part 1.

The flammability requirements are identical to ISO 8124 Part 2, while the chemical requirements remain the same with ST2002 (i.e. the 11th edition).

  • Canada (CCPSA)

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) was enacted with the aim of protecting the public by addressing and preventing dangers (that may emanate from consumer products in Canada) to the health or safety of the public.

The Act applies to suppliers of consumer products in Canada, as well as manufacturers, importers, distributors, advertisers and retailers.

The Act recognizes that suppliers of consumer products play a key role in addressing any dangers to the health or safety of humans via consumer products in the global market of today.

  • Australia/New Zealand (AS/NZS ISO8124)

The Australian Standards for Toys, AS/NZS 8124 part 1, 2 and 3 were updated to the 2016 version in June 2016. The Australian standards were modified from ISO 8124:2014.

AS/NZS 8124 standards help to test physical and mechanical, flammability and heavy metal requirements. The updates of the AS/NZS ISO 8124 standards can be found at http://www.asiainspection.com/regulatory-updates/August-2016/australia-toys-standards.

Conclusion

The toy importation business is a lucrative market that anyone can venture into. I have taken my time to explain all you need to know and do to be successful in this business by coming up with this article. If, after going through this article, you have any questions, drop them in the comment section below. I’ll love to hear from you.

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