China's Toymakers Face Tough Year

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And China's toy industry is one of those affected by that weak export growth. Weak markets and rising production costs are forcing some toy factories to close.

Industry players at the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair say slowing exports and shrinking margins have companies in the world's largest toy-making country scrambling to tap domestic demand.

Thousands of toy factories closed in China last year, and about 10 percent of workers in the industry lost their jobs.

Manufacturers blame not only the global economic downturn, but also rising production costs in China, including wage costs.

While China's leaders are aware of the pressures on exporters, they have also pledged to lift migrant factory worker wages to ease wealth inequalities and the sting of nagging inflation.

However, a group of protesters at the entrance of Asia's biggest toy fair, and the second biggest in the world, said that the minimum wage hike did not go far enough.

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior spokesperson Debbie Chan, says that since the downturn, factory workers are even more vulnerable to mistreatment.

[Debbie Chan, Spokesperson, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior]:
"It's also written in the unethical buying practice of brands. They just press down the unit price and shorten the delivery time so as a result workers must toil on the shop floor and they suffer."

More than 80 percent of the toys sold around the world currently come from China.

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