It really does seem that the Chinese are beginning to find that manufacturing is not all beer and skittles
In April 2008 I wrote that there were signs of slowing in the Chinese economy, and pondered whether it might not have been time for British toy manufacturing to re-emerge. Now it seems the Chinese themselves are concerned at the rapid shrinking of their toy manufacturing sector, to the extent that they are seeking approval – presumably from their Government – to change direction, so as to manufacture more toys for adults and less for children. Presumably by this they mean more high-tech toys, rather than anything more questionable. We won’t go into that.
If you would like to read the Press release from China, you’ll find it here, but be warned – it’s in typical Communist style, and somewhat impenetrable. For a more detailed and interesting analysis of the state of the Chinese economy have a look at this article – if you have five minutes.
Although we do not import directly ourselves we have certainly seen increasing signs of the difficulty in having toy manufacturing so far away. Lead times are immense, and if a consignment misses a ship the next delivery is likely to be weeks away. There’s no doubt that the quality of Chinese manufacturing has improved tremendously, but compliance with European standards has also added to lead times, and costs. Costs are largely in US dollars, and because of the weakness of sterling this is contributing to rising prices in UK. Now we know that the number of manufacturers has reduced, and is likely to reduce further, it seems inevitable that there will be both a shortage of toys this autumn and they will be more expensive. Shop early for Christmas I suggest.