LEGO executive: China is an important strategic growth market

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 12, 2021
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At the LEGO Group booth during the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, visitors were once again treated to a massive installation comprising a 2,500 kg set and 483,453 blocks dubbed "Garden of Creativity," which took a total of 23 LEGO model builders 1,957 hours to complete, making it the largest installation to be constructed at the expo since the Billund-based company first participated.

The booth for Danish toy company LEGO Group shows a massive installation, "Garden of Creativity," during the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE). [Photo courtesy of LEGO China]

Meanwhile, the company revealed seven new LEGO sets at this year's CIIE, including three inspired by Chinese culture and traditions such as The Monkey King and Chinese Lunar New Year, as well as four new sets from the popular LEGO Super Mario series. Chinese sets will be available for China and Asia Pacific markets beginning Dec. 25, 2021. The Super Mario sets will be launched in China on Jan. 18, 2022. 

Those Chinese sets, rooted firmly in Chinese culture and values, provide a common ground for children and families to build and play together, Paul Huang, senior vice president of the LEGO Group and general manager of LEGO China, told "They are highly popular as one of our best-selling themes in the China market."

He added, "On the other hand, our Chinese-element products perfectly echo the dual circulation of culture domestically and globally. We are always dedicated to giving the foreign customers a close touch of Chinese culture."

For example, Huang revealed that this September, the LEGO Group announced its first-ever original content distribution relationship and product deal with Amazon and the launch of an animated series, "LEGO Monkie Kid." It is the first LEGO theme to be inspired by China's legendary Monkey King. All the episodes of the first season, along with a special entitled "A Hero is Born," debuted Sept. 9 on Amazon Kids+ in the U.S., U.K., and Canada and Oct. 7 in Germany and Japan.

According to Huang, for the past few years, "we have experienced strong double-digit growth, which is for sure a result of the high-quality development of the economy and society in China. China is an important strategic growth market for us. We will continue to invest in China and Chinese society, to inspire and develop more Chinese children and families through play."

The LEGO group also receives government support to protect intellectual property rights (IPRs) in China, which mitigates the proliferation of pirated and copycat products. In December 2020, the Shanghai Higher People's Court upheld a verdict for six people accused of counterfeiting and manufacturing 330 million yuan worth of LEGO toys under the brand "Lepin." The LEGO Group sees this as a "milestone" legal victory. 

"The LEGO brand is one of the most recognized and reputable brands in the world and the protection of IPRs is extremely important to us. With strong support from Chinese authorities, we have been able to successfully tackle a range of IP infringements. We have made such good progress and look forward to continued support and collaboration in this area," Huang said.

Paul Huang, senior vice president of the LEGO Group and general manager of LEGO China. [Photo courtesy of LEGO China]

In the first 10 months of 2021, the LEGO Group opened more than 70 new Lego authorized stores and the world's largest Lego brand flagship store in China. By the end of 2021, the total number of the LEGO Group authorized stores in the country will reach 300, with plans to build an additional 80 stores throughout 2022, alongside renewed efforts in the e-commerce and digital sectors.

Besides stores and toys, the company also announced a new partnership with Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. The gardens will host LEGO "Build the Change" activities for more than 10,000 children over the next three years, providing China's youth with opportunities to build their ideas for a sustainable future. In addition, the company recently signed an agreement with the China Association of the Blind and China Braille Press to launch the LEGO Braille Bricks program in China.

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