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Made-in-Vietnam toys struggle for market share

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Vietnam’s toy products compete well with Chinese counterparts in quality and prices, but domestic manufacturers are weak at diversifying products and slow in launching new products. 

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Vietnamese children prefer made-in-Vietnam toys for the full-moon festival 


Le Quynh Hoa, an office worker in Hanoi, said she bought a Vietnamese-made decorative lantern for her daughter to play in the full-moon festival, rather than a Chinese product.

She noted that at some supermarket chains, only Vietnam’s lanterns were available, while Chinese products were absent from the shelves. 

“Vietnamese parents now prefer Vietnam’s lanterns because they are safe for children,” she said.

However, Hoa admitted that traditional lanterns were the only Vietnam-made toys she has bought. “I could not find other Vietnamese high-quality products. I have to buy imports, though they were really expensive,” she explained.

A market survey conducted by FTA, a market analysis firm, found that 52 percent of polled mothers said they would buy domestically made toys for children.

However, in the market of 3-5 million customers, 90 percent of the demand is fed by imports and the rest by Vietnamese companies.

Foreign products now flood the domestic toy market. Besides high-end products from the US, Japan, Germany and France displayed at luxury shops and shopping malls, there are more common products, mostly from China.

Retailers and toy shop owners said that Vietnam-made toys can’t compete with Chinese products in the low-cost market segment, and they are inferior to imported products in the high-end segment.

Experts said that the problem doesn’t lie in the production capacity of Vietnamese enterprises. The products churned out by them have been exported to many choosy markets such as the US, Europe and Japan, with the average annual growth rate of 20 percent.

According to the General Department of Customs (GDC), the export of toys and sport equipment brought turnover of $235.7 million in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 18.8 percent over the same period of 2016. 

The exports to the Netherlands soared by 102 percent, to Spain by 98 percent, Germany 52 percent and Belgium 42 percent.

Asked why he doesn’t focus on the domestic market, the director of a wooden-toy enterprise said his company once invested in production lines to manufacture toys for the local market, but the sales were unsatisfactory.

Vietnam’s toy products have strong advantages over Chinese ones in quality and price. But a manufacturer complained that it takes enterprises too much time to follow procedures when launching new products and to have products examined.


Source: VNN

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