China Kids Expo 2016 issues a challenge to international brands


More exhibition space, more exhibitors, more visitors: China Kids Expo is growing fast, just like Chinese population and its needs. With the new two-child policy, effective from January 1st, 2016, and the middle class growing its revenue, there’s more and more room for international brands, but are they ready to take up the challenge?

Held on October 19-21 at Shanghai New International Expo Center, China International Baby Articles Fair 2016 (China Kids Expo), set new benchmarks in terms of visitors – 65,467 from 130 countries and regions – and international participation, with nearly 600 international brands from 30 countries and regions. Covering an area of 155,000 square meters, where more than 1,700 exhibitors introduced over 3,000 brands, CKE 2016 was co-organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA), celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and Koelnmesse.

The show is much more than just an expo. Each year, the hosts hold various activities such as special displays, meetings, awarding ceremonies, round-table discussions and matchmaking sessions so that both exhibitors and visitors have opportunities to promote their products or share information about the industry.

“CTJPA has a very significant role in the introduction of new safety regulations and new technologies, and thanks to the association, this event has become more and more important for networking. We’ve already met visitors from Greece, Singapore, India, and China of course”, said Grace Wee, Marketing Director of Dorel Juvenile China, whose offices opened two years ago. “Dorel’s strength are strollers and car seats; Quinny and Maxi-Cosi are our leading brands. Car seats are not required everywhere in China, just a few cities. But Chinese parents are more and more aware of safety issues, they want the best for their children: they look for innovation, details, quality, smart and intelligent functions”.

“Just a few families use car seats in China”, echoed Shen Changlay, Brand Manager of ForU, Chinese distributor of Recaro. “1.4 billion people live in China, 16 million children are born every year; new policy encourages families to have a second child, thus the birth rate is going to rise. The law will focus more and more on security, the middle class is increasing its revenue: this is why five years ago we started focusing on the car seats area to widen our offer. We chose Recaro at the Cologne trade fair, because we know that Chinese consumers, young parents in particular, trust foreign brands, especially German. Our company, founded 13 years ago, also distributes Inglesina and Tiny Love, and we have our own brands: ForU and Dzone. We are very strict on the choice of materials and manufacture our top of the range products in Spain. For the lower price range we import wood from Spain to our Chinese factories. We own 70 shops in China, but we’ve also got 200 corners in Mothercare outlets”.

Running 35 shops in China, but also present in 400 multi-brand stores, including international chains like Mothercare and Lollipop, is also Kidsland, a leading sales marketing and distribution service company in China, specialising in international children’s brands, in both toys and baby sectors. “We operate on multiple distribution channels and networks, both online and offline, organizing social media marketing programs. We’re retailers, distributors, e-tailers and marketers, the only thing we are not is producers: we just choose the best of the best for our customers”, explained Crystal Zhong, General Manager. The company is the exclusive Chinese partner for international brands including Lego, Chicco and Aprica. “It is not easy for a company to build its own business in China, its domestic market is continuously developing, in terms both of size and competition. It is a challenge for international brands: you need to know the right way to propose your product, which has to be necessary and understandable to consumers – who often have to be educated. The key to deal with this great complexity is patience: you cannot obtain immediate reward without a solid foundation. Consumers require quality, sincerity, and sustainability, all things that are missing to the Made in China productions and have affected its name in the past, undermining its reputation”.

An equation that does not concern Goodbaby, probably the largest manufacturer of baby products in the world and owner of Cybex. “Our Chairman, Mr. Zhenghuan Song, invented the “push and rock” stroller and founded the brand in 1989: in 1993 our strollers ranked number one for sales in China”, said Andy Zhu, Goodbaby’s COO China Production and Senior VP, Group Quality Center. “In 1996 our strollers entered the United States market, and the company became the country’s largest supplier of strollers three years later. The same happened from 2002 to 2006, when we entered the European Market. In 2014, the acquisition of leading German juvenile brand Cybex and the acquisition of Evenflo, the US’ leading high quality baby care products brand, significantly improved our portfolio. Today we launch 500 new products a year, and the rationale of innovation continues to be the basis of our success. Our latest introductions concern RollPlay, a brand that produces some of the most realistic electronic toy vehicles for children, and our new strollers: Pockit is the 2014 Guinness World Record’s smallest folding stroller; e Smart is able to connect to your smartphone and play your music”.

Annual appointment since 2011 in Shanghai, China’s biggest international trade hub, CKE is held concurrently with China Toy Expo and China International Licensin Show. The fair’s next edition will be held on October 18-20, 2017, with even more international brands meeting highly qualified buyers, distributors and retailers from China.

Author: Laila Caroli

Contributor to the Italian trade magazine Il Giornale dell’Infanzia, BCMI member

Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is located in Pudong New Area. CKE 2016 was organized by CTJPA, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, in cooperation with Koelnmesse.

Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is located in Pudong New Area. CKE 2016 was organized by CTJPA, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, in cooperation with Koelnmesse.

“Dorel’s strength are strollers and car seats; Quinny and Maxi-Cosi are our leading brands”, said Grace Wee, Marketing Director of Dorel Juvenile China.

“Dorel’s strength are strollers and car seats; Quinny and Maxi-Cosi are our leading brands”, said Grace Wee, Marketing Director of Dorel Juvenile China.

Shen Changlay, Brand Manager of ForU, Chinese distributor of Recaro, stated that Chinese consumers trust foreign brands, especially German.

Shen Changlay, Brand Manager of ForU, Chinese distributor of Recaro, stated that Chinese consumers trust foreign brands, especially German.

Recaro’s booth

Recaro’s booth

“Gb Pockit stroller folds so small it could practically fit into a shoebox”, said Andy Zhu, Goodbaby’s COO China Production and Senior VP, Group Quality Center.

“Gb Pockit stroller folds so small it could practically fit into a shoebox”, said Andy Zhu, Goodbaby’s COO China Production and Senior VP, Group Quality Center.

Goodbaby’s RollPlay brand offers some of the most realistic electronic toy vehicles for children.

Goodbaby’s RollPlay brand offers some of the most realistic electronic toy vehicles for children.

Goodbaby’s e Smart stroller connects to your smartphone and play your music.

Goodbaby’s e Smart stroller connects to your smartphone and play your music.

Crystal Zhong, General Manager of Kidsland, a leading sales marketing and distribution service company in China, specialising in international children’s brands such as Chicco.

Crystal Zhong, General Manager of Kidsland, a leading sales marketing and distribution service company in China, specialising in international children’s brands such as Chicco.