Parents choose 'smart toys' over traditional playthings
Updated: 2014-06-01 07:21
By Shi Jing and Wei Tian (China Daily)
Children play online games in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. High-tech electronic toys and online games have caught on in recent years. Provided to China Daily
Cai Qi is disappointed her 2-year-old shows no preference for more expensive electronic toys.
"I try to keep him away from electronic devices (used by adults), such as the iPhone, iPad or even TV because they may harm his eyesight and can be very addictive," the 30-year-old said.
"That might be the reason he doesn't like electronic toys. To him, a talking electronic cat and a Lego are no different. So he only has three electronic toys at home. He doesn't like them. Parents end up being electronic toys' users."
Cai said parents pin hope on electronic toys to boost children's intelligence.
"But this is actually a myth believed by parents," she said.
"Children have their own preferences. They can build up their analytical and manipulative abilities by playing with the most traditional toys, such as Legos."
Zhejiang province-based Ningbo Jinfan Toy Co sales manager Ye Shuhui said the company sticks to the traditional plush toys it has produced since it was founded 10 years ago.
While business has decreased over the past two years, seemingly due to the country's economic slowdown and less-promising export outlooks, the company does not plan to change course.
"It would require extra investments, including those in electronic modules and designers," Ye said.
"But, most importantly, we believe it will be a long time before electronic toys overtake the market. I believe traditional toys are the best and safest. They help a child's intelligence. Parents shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket."
Lego, a traditional industry leader, has expressed interest in the Chinese market and plans to focus on its areas of strength.
Lego Group's global CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said the growing number of affluent Chinese families have made it the Denmark-based manufacturer's fastest-growing market. Its revenue grew 50 percent on the Chinese mainland last year.
"We are now significantly putting the flag in the Chinese market and in society. We want to be part of the modernization in China," Knudstorp said at the construction ceremony of Lego's first factory in China.