(CIIE) Executive Opinion: Growing up with China is a rewarding journey

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 10, 2023
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by Paul Huang

For the Chinese market and the China International Import Expo (CIIE), it is fair to say that the LEGO Group is an old friend.

Just five years after China opened its doors to the world through reform and opening up in 1978, the LEGO Group entered the Chinese market with exports of products. For 40 years since then, we have been expanding our business in China, an important strategic growth market for the LEGO Group.

As a committed full-attendance foreign firm for the CIIE, the LEGO Group has participated in the landmark import expo for six consecutive years. Thanks to the platform's spillover effects, we have achieved fruitful results in business development in China in the past six years.

In 2018, we had only 50 retail stores in China, and now we have nearly 500. The number of cities covered by our stores also expanded from 18 to 122 in just six years.

For more than 90 years, the LEGO Group has been seeking to bring more fun of play to children worldwide. Just as we want to offer Chinese children the unique experience of growing up with joy through play, developing with the Chinese market is also a rewarding journey.

Chinese children are known for their studiousness, but a growing number of Chinese parents are beginning to realize the positive effects of play on their children's confidence, creativity and cognitive skills.

China's vast market has brought us more development space and opportunities. Currently, over 40 percent of the LEGO Group's retail stores are located in third-tier cities and below, which allows more children to experience our high-quality play experiences at their doorsteps.

I was quite impressed by the opening of the LEGO Lhasa retail store in Xizang last July, which is the highest LEGO retail store on Earth. Seeing the children and parents there waiting in long lines that day, I was very touched and gratified to be able to bring LEGO toys closer to children living on the plateau. This is a proud cause that we will continue to pursue.

China is a global trendsetter in the application of digital technology, which spurs many foreign enterprises to hone their digital competitiveness. The LEGO Group has invested in establishing a digital office in Shanghai to push our digital transformation and the integration of online and offline businesses. So far, our total number of digital members in the Chinese mainland is close to 10 million.

In addition, we have stepped up local R&D efforts in recent years, launching a series of products inspired by Chinese culture. It has become a much-anticipated tradition for us to unveil new products at the CIIE.

During the six editions of the expo, we have rolled out a total of 24 new products, most of which feature strong Chinese traditional cultural elements. For example, to embrace the lunar year of the Dragon, we have designed a new product in the shape of Chinese dragon, which debuted at the sixth CIIE.

To our delight, these products with Chinese cultural elements have been promoted to foreign children through our global retail network, receiving very positive feedback.

We are glad to see that China is constantly stepping up its opening up and intellectual property protection, which has created an enabling environment for our further development. We will continue to invest in the Chinese market to meet the expectations of consumers and help more Chinese children learn through play. Enditem

(Editor's note: Paul Huang is the senior vice president of the LEGO Group and general manager of LEGO China. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Xinhua News Agency.)

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