According to the China Toy Association, China has almost 8,000 toy factories and manufactures an estimated 70% of the world’s total toy products.
However, Chinese-made toys are mostly old-fashioned, with intelligent and electronic ones merely accounting for 3% and 0.6% of the total respectively.
“China needs lots of talented toy designers to turn itself from a big toy maker into a powerful one,” said Liang Mei, secretary-general of the China Toy Association.
Liang’s view was echoed by Cheng Yunlong, head of the marketing department of Tianjin Kegao Toy Co Ltd, who said what local toy factories needed were well-educated professionals from higher learning institutions.
All of last year’s 30 graduates of the country’s first toy-designer training institution, the Toy Designing Faculty of the Tianjin Science and Technology University, have been booked.
“I really don’t know how to distribute this small number of graduates for such a big demand,” said Jin Guifang, director of the faculty.
Since the faculty was set up in 1987, it has trained over 400 graduates.
As future toy designers, the students study basic knowledge in social and natural sciences.
“They have to be trained to meet the demands of the hi-tech age,” said Jin.
David Miller, just-retired chairman of the Toy Industry Association of America (TIA), advised his Chinese counterparts to make Made-in-China toys more Chinese, by exploring China’s long history and rich cultural heritage.
While American toy designers had to rely on their imagination about the future world due to their country’s short history, Chinese designers were lucky to be able to easily find endless clues from their large amount of legendary stories and historic figures, Miller noted.
The industry’s shortage of professionals is attracting more colleges to set up their own toy-designing departments.
Many young students have also pinned hopes on the fledgling toy industry. – People’s Daily
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