Many of my family, including our foreign customers and Chinese vendors, don't want to do business with toys because there are countless different kinds of toy items, and they don't get any idea what to buy. Another reason is that many countries have a lot of rules on importing toys, which in this process will undoubtedly cause a lot of trouble. But the truth is that introducing toys is not as complicated as you thought, you have to pick some good products and the right suppliers.
The post will provide you with a comprehensive overview of how to import toys from China, including how to pick goods, how to find suitable distributors and some specific solutions problems. If you want to learn more about finding reliable Chinese suppliers for different types of business, I organize it into six chapters, as this article contains so much practical information. You can click on each section title, and it will take you to the related content.
- Chapter 1: What kind of toy to import from China
- Chapter 2: Where to find real China toy factories
- Chapter 3: Two major toy wholesale markets in China
- Chapter 4: Famous toys fair in China you should know about
- Chapter 5: How to search the toy’s suppliers from China online
- Chapter 6: Problems may have when import toys from China
Chapter 1: What Kind of Toys Will Bring You Business?
So far, from my experience, importers from different countries tend to import iconic toys like balls, vehicles, stuffed animals because every year, all these typical toys have a substantial and steady demand. There is no need to think about selling as there are always buyers who want it. There are usually hot-selling toys in the world every year, such as loom bands in 2013-2014, dynamic sand and balance scooter in 2014-2015, fidget spinner in 2017-2018, and finger monkey in 2017-2018. If you can discover the potential of these products and import them earlier than your competitors, you will already make a lot of money when others start selling. At that time, you can begin to find the next product.
Classification of Toys Produced in China
- Remote control toys: RC Helicopter, Cars, Boats, Quadrocopter Chenghai, Shenzhen
- Diecasts & Toy Vehicles Cars, Trucks, Car Models Chenghai
- Toy Figures Lego Toys, Animation Figures Chenghai
- Doll& Stuffed Toys Toy animals, Puppets, Mascot, Costume Mainly in Yangzhou and Qingdao, but there are also some in Yiwu, Shenzhen and other cities
- Classic Toys Yoyo, Balloon, Balls, Kaleidospce Chenghai, Yiwu, and other towns depending on products.
- Learning & Education Toys Toy Musical Instrument Yunhe(Zhejiang Province) for wood made toys
- Outdoor & Playground Toys Kid’s Slide, Seesaw Yongjia (a small town of Wenzhou), the capital of playground toys in China
- Models & Building Toys Building Blocks Chenghai, Yiwu
- Baby Toys Baby Rattles, Baby Walker No specified cities, but mainly in Zhejiang and Guangdong Province.
- Puzzles & DIY Toys Puzzles, Magic Cube High-quality Puzzles mainly produced in Chenghai. DIY craft toys produced primarily on Yiwu.
Chapter 2: Where most China toy factories are located/Where to find real China toy factories
Most toy companies want to get a list of toy manufacturers in China before going to buy toy products. But that's not true. You must first be familiar with the place of origin of the different toys before you purchase any item; then, you can go ahead and find the best toymaker for the toy items you want to sell. The toy factories in China are situated in various locations and depending on the other toys they make. So, if you're going to look for online suppliers and already know where the variety of dolls comes from, it's going to help you identify the suppliers and also make it much easier for you to compare prices & quality of different suppliers. I’ll list the five main toy production areas in China below.
1. Chenghai, Guangdong Province—World’s Capital of Toys
If you are experienced in the toy industry and buy them in large quantities regularly, then Chenghai will be the best choice. Everywhere in this town, you will find toys, companies or factories, and toy-related things.
1.1 What kinds of toy manufacturers are located in Chenghai
Many toys around the world come from here. The leading toy categories include:
- Chinese baby toys
- Plastic toys
- China electronic toys
- High-tech toys
It means that if you operate a remote-controlled toy company and your distributors are in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, then your selling price will probably be lower than Chenghai's. This is because 90 percent of these factories have to purchase toy parts from Chenghai manufacturers, which in turn increases the cost of toys. For example, if a Chenghai factory wants to produce a remote-controlled car for you, they need to buy the main toy accessories from local circuit board factories, wheel factories, and other toy accessory factories, and then assemble them. They don't have to buy non-Chenghai accessories. So, the cost will be significantly reduced, a lot of time will be saved, and the quality will be guaranteed.
1.2 How do toy manufacturers in Chenghai work? How to find them?
Some Chenghai factories don't have their own sales team, so their level of English isn't excellent either. So, Chenghai-based toy factories usually send their prototypes to toy trading companies. Trading companies upload all products to their Alibaba pages or personal websites and place orders when foreigners order them to these factories. Many big toy trading companies, of course, have their showrooms, which can be thousands of square meters. Customers were able to visit their showroom, select items, and position orders.
Besides, there are also many showroom companies in Chenghai where factories can show their samples by renting display racks (one rack costs $500-$1000 per year). If you are interested in teaching an item there, the firms will provide you with contact information for the whole plant. But most toy factories don't have good English speaking salespeople, so it would be easier for you to have a Chinese interpreter to help. This is an excellent thing to do if you plan to visit showrooms or approach manufacturers directly or toy trading companies. Another exciting thing about the showroom business is that you can place most of the product items you like in the shopping carts and take them away free of charge during the tour. They also offer free lunch, like McDonald's or KFC, free drinking, even free cigarettes. They offer such excellent service because a lot of rentals are paid annually by toy factories. Trading companies and showroom companies are based in every corner of Chenghai, and you can get their details quickly from the hotel you stay in.
2. Yiwu— Where Low Value and Small Toys
2.1 Which types of toys are produced in Yiwu
Yiwu's toy manufacturers produce predominantly low-value toys such as children's DIY craft toys that are popular, and you can see them all over your country. The toys are fad toys, loom bands, magic sand, and so on. If you're looking for these small items, Yiwu is the right place. Like Chenghai, Yiwu also makes plastic toys in abundance. The downside is that in Yiwu, these toys are much cheaper, like the low-value DIY art sets. And in Yiwu, there are many similar factories of toy accessories, which are also suppliers of toy accessories for Chenghai.
In addition to some DIY toys and low-value plastic toys, Yiwu has many Pool Rafts & Inflatable Ride-on factories, such as the Floating Flamingo, which a couple of years ago was on very high demand. If you want to find factories of Yiwu toy, then you can go directly to the Yiwu Wholesale market (in the next chapter, I'll talk about the Yiwu market). But if you don't know Yiwu, you should find an agent to help you. You might want to tell me if on Alibaba you could find Yiwu suppliers. You may, of course. Alibaba has loads of Yiwu vendors, and you need to classify whether or not the distributors are actual factories. In my opinion, if a manufacturer has a selection of toys, then they likely aren't the real factory because a right factory makes a specific product and not a range of products.
2.2 A comprehensive comparison between Yiwu and Chenghai
Perhaps you're still uncertain about Chenghai and Yiwu's toy markets. Don't panic, and according to the actual situation, I'll give you some practical advice. In particular, Yiwu collects the entire product classes regardless of the price. Plüsh toys, plastic toys, essential electronic toys, etc. can be found easily at the lowest price on the Yiwu market. There are some suppliers of high-tech gadgets on the market that are remotely controlled. Nevertheless, the price is not reasonable as there are no complicated remote controlled and high-tech toys manufacturers in Yiwu.
Yiwu toys ' price is usually the lowest, but the quality isn't as good as you'd expect. Use as an example of a plastic toy; the fabrics, polish, and color of Chenghai's plastic toys are much higher than Yiwu's. Yiwu's price will, of course, behalf lower than Chenghai's. To sum up, according to your real demands, you need to balance the price and quality. If you're visiting China and you're experienced in the plastic or digital toy market, you can visit Chenghai. If toys are just part of your business and you want to buy in your container a lot of other products, Then Yiwu will be a suitable place to buy all your products in Yiwu wholesale market because it is very convenient. Even if you buy Chenghai made toys in Yiwu, purchasing from Chenghai will not make a significant difference in the price here.
3. Yangzhou/Qingdao—Where Plush and Stuffed Toys Are Mainly Produced
Although the plush toy manufacturers in Chenghai and Yiwu can also be found, the size is relatively small. And in recent years, due to the high cost of manufacturing, these luxury and plush toy manufacturers have gradually moved to China's Jiangxi Province (neighboring Zhejiang province). If you have a big order, I suggest you go directly to Yongjia. With a local guide in the area, you can take about 1-2 days to visit the factories. In particular, several Yongjia and Wenzhou factories have booths on the Yiwu market, so you can also head straight to the Yiwu market to find the suppliers of educational toys.
4. Yongjia, Zhejiang Province: China’s Capital of Learning and Playground Toys for Kids
Qiaoxia, a small town in Yongjia City, is the hub of China's development of education and playground equipment. When you plan to visit China to provide supplies for this sort of product, you can go to the city of Qiaoxia as many factories gather there. If you're searching for online vendors, it's better to pay attention to their Chinese locations and make sure they're from Wenzhou City, because Yongjia belonged to Wenzhou.
5. Yunhe, Lishui – Wooden toy city
You can go to Yunhe, Zhejiang Province if you want to find a wooden toy factory in China. Yunhe is rich in wood, which has led to the development of the toy industry in timber. There are many factories in this field of the wooden games. There's also a wooden toy market in Yunhe, where a supplier can be found. I recommend, though, that you take an interpreter or representative to help with the production follow-up. Because there are very few visitors visiting Yunhe, and only a few local people can speak English. If you have big purchases, there's a more massive factory you can consider. Yunhe has several large factories abroad that provide many well-known brands. However, if you have a small order, you may be able to buy stocks there, and it’s also almost impossible to produce your customized products. Or else, you can take 1-2 days to find a small factory with the guidance of a local guide.
Chapter 3: Two major toy wholesale markets in China
I want to introduce you to the two major Chinese toy markets:
- Yiwu Market
- Guangzhou market
The two markets have their characteristics. You need to choose one that meets your demands.
1. The Toy Wholesale District in Yiwu Wholesale Market
In Yiwu city and nearby cities, many toys are produced. Yiwu Wholesale market has many suppliers of dolls from all over China, including Chenghai toy suppliers. Sourcing toys is very convenient as the wholesale market is like a big fair. (Find out more about the Yiwu wholesale market. The Yiwu market has five districts in all. Most of the Chinese toy manufacturers are located on the first floor of the first district. You can find whatever toy you want here. The Yiwu toy market is split into three parts: ordinary-toy area, electrical-toy area, and plush-toy area. Many of the similar products are collected in the same area on the Yiwu market. Therefore, at different booths, you can easily find the same service, which is very helpful for you when it comes to price and quality analysis. Most toy manufacturers in the Yiwu market can only say a few essential words in English. They usually speak to you about the quote using a calculator.
A service typically has a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of over $200. If it's a relatively high-value toy like a drone, the MOQ could be relatively small. Their offer for 1000 products and 5,000 products may be the same when you ask the suppliers for the price. This is not something that should surprise you. Because the suppliers don't know if you're able to place an order and what your needs are. Before giving you an accurate quote, they need to communicate with you in-depth and calculate the cost. Another thing you need to pay more attention to is that there are many manufacturers of toys that do not provide approval. If you don't have the experience of exporting toys from China or transporting your freight, you will encounter a lot of difficulties in the import process. So, if you don't know the Yiwu market very well and don't know how to import from China, you'd better find a professional supplier to help you.
2. Toy Wholesale Markets in Guangzhou
Unlike the Yiwu toy market, which puts together many toy manufacturers, retail toy markets are distributed in Guangzhou, and each market is in a separate small house. And, in every corner of Guangzhou, you'll find the retail toy markets spread. On Yide Road, Guangzhou, there are several small buildings. But in these buildings, the classification of toys is entirely mixed. The MOQ is relatively low as well, but the price is much lower. Typically, Southeast Asian customers prefer to go there to buy toys, as well as some Europeans.
There are some significant factories in the markets of Guangzhou. Yeah, I don't recommend going there if you want to find a genuine toy factory. Also, wholesale toy market suppliers in Guangzhou can't speak English very well, so you need to find a Chinese translator to help you communicate with suppliers as your purchasing agent. Temporarily finding a suitable purchasing agent in Guangzhou is not easy. Therefore, I suggest you look online for a professional before you go to Guangzhou. In particular, if you're mainly interested in buying clothes, bags, watches, jewelry, and getting a small number of toys, then you can purchase wholesale toys in Guangzhou entirely. Of, eg, if you have a more significant order, you want to buy more than $1000 for each item. I suggest you go to the markets of Chenghai or Yiwu because the wholesale market for Guangzhou Toy is only suitable for people who buy small quantities of toys.
Chapter 4: Famous Toys Fair in China You Should Know About
Here is the information on the various toy exhibitions in China.
- Yiwu Expo
- Address: Yiwu International Expo Center
- Period: 21st – 25th, Oct. 2018
- Canton Fair
- Address: No. 382, Yuejiang Middle Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
- Period: 15th, Oct-4th, Nov. 2018
- Guangzhou International Toy Fair
- Address: Guangzhou Pazhou Poly World Trade Expo Center
- Period: 8th – 10th, Apr. 2018
- China Toy Fair
- Address: Shanghai New International Expo Center
- Period: 16th – 18th, Oct. 2018
- Beijing International Toys and Preschool Supplies Fair
- Address: No.7 Tianchen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Period: 11th – 13th May. 2019
- Hong Kong Toy Fair (mainly for the export market
- Address: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Period: 20th-23rd, Oct. 2018
- Chenghai International Toys & Gift Fair
- Address: Chenghai Exhibition Center, Shantou City, Guangdong Province Period: 28th Apr. 2018
Chapter 5: How to Search Toy’s Suppliers from China Online
Do not be fooled by Chinese digital vendors as they all tell you they are manufacturers, and they can manufacture any toys you want. Trading companies are the bulk of vendors you can reach on the Internet. Because the size of many toy factories in China is not generally necessary, and most of their orders come from trading firms. Some of Alibaba's toy factories also have stores, but they rarely receive applications from foreign buyers. Throughout toy fairs, such as the Canton Fair, and the Global Sources Fair, you can also find some large sizes and professional toy factories. The only way to check online vendors is if you don't come to China, so I recommend using Alibaba.com and learning how to find the right suppliers on Alibaba. Some of you might find many small retail platforms like Aliexpress or DHgate, but I don't advise that you buy toys from this kind of system, which chooses global express as the mode of delivery. Because the pricing of the item is typically not high, but the weight of the package is always significant, so when using air freight or express, the shipping cost is very high, often higher than the price of the product. The most economical way of shipping is by sea freight or purchasing in large quantities, at least 2-3 CBM; otherwise, the total shipping costs will be very high for each service.
Chapter 6: Problems May Have When Import Toys from China
Usually, children use toy items, so many countries have stringent regulations and substantial toy standards. Other than that, toy products still have other issues that make it a little more complicated than other products, and here are several significant problems you may have when importing toys from China.
1. Compliance and Safty
Certification and safety issues are the biggest among all problems, and numerous countries have different standards required for imported toys. Here is some approval required for toy products from the US and EU.
United States: The first three tests of ASTM F963: Mechanical/Physical Testing, Flammability testing, and Chemical testing. The other is the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act): lead and phthalates test and labeling test.
European Union: Toys exported to Europe have to pass the Toy Safety Directive (EN 71 -1,2,3) and have a CE mark.
If you're buying a lot of toys, it would be best to do all the checks you want. But if the volume is low, the value of all these tests will be very high. The best way to do this is to tell the manufacturers to provide these test reports they have already done to ensure that their goods met the safety standards. If the vendors are unable to offer you, then you need to turn to someone else who can conduct the check. Suppliers in China will not normally do all these tests, most of them do part 1, 2, and 3 of the EN 71 test and phthalates test. If you receive from them the EN 71 test report, be careful to check that it contains EN71 section 3, which is the most relevant, it can show that the dangerous material in goods is below the prescribed levels. Some suppliers are not going to test part 3 because they fear the test might fail. Most businesses in China will carry out a CE review, so you also need to verify which research laboratory the study is from. It's going to be the best entities like SGS, ITS, and TUV. Some suppliers may offer reports to save money from small Chinese testing labs, but importers may not admit it.
2. Commodity Inspection Required by China Custom
Once shipping to other nations, toys must carry out a material inspection; the price of one box is $200-$300. Usually, more than $100 when you ship by LCL, and the price depends on the toy's quality and weight.
3. The problem of Design Infringement
Some factories like to print in their toy goods some famous cartoon characters, and some make the form the same as those characters. For example, two different schoolbags, one imprinted mice, but another did not, then the former one could be selling at a higher price than the latter, so people would prefer to buy the former one. If the distributors have not received the approval of the animation company, then all of these products with animation characters can be infringed. Your goods will be tested by both China's culture and international practice. We will kill them when we realize that you don't have the approval. Even if you are lucky enough to escape the custom inspection, when you sell these unauthorized toys, you will run into the same problems as above. So if you want to buy toys printed with famous cartoon characters, make sure your manufacturer has the approval. If not, you can switch to another supplier, or you must give up this product if it could ruin your business.
4. The problem of Shipping Toys from China
For toys, shipping by sea is the most economical way because the weight of toys is usually light and the size of the product is always essential. If you're only looking to purchase fewer than 3 CBM toys per shipment, you'd better buy from the local market instead of buying directly from China because the average cost for each toy item will be very high, including freight and inspection of goods.