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Miniso's Top Toy to play big for more market share

2021-05-13 CTJPA

Top Toy, a newly founded brand of pop toys, or collectibles licensed as vinyl figurines and bobblehead dolls, is making a wider foray into the trendy toy market with plans to operate 100 stores and 1,000 toy vending machines in China this year.

Top Toy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese budget retailer Miniso Group Holding Ltd, plans to launch its first overseas store in Singapore in the latter half of the year, as the company has seen enormous demand and concrete business opportunities in the pop toy market, and it aims to become a global pop toy collection brand.

"There is huge demand for trendy toys in China, including in smaller and more remote areas. We would like to seize the momentum. Customers can view us as an Android system, which is more open and compatible," said Sun Yuanwen, founder and chief executive officer of Top Toy.

"Pop toys don't exactly belong to the traditional toy sector, in my opinion. Instead, they are part of home decor and young people's desktop accoutrements. Young adults are spending more to make themselves happy, and we are making products to grab their attention," Sun said.

Founded last year, Top Toy opened its first store in December in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and now has more than 20 outlets nationwide. A few months after the store opened in Guangzhou, some 25 percent of total buyers are returning customers, the company said.

In early April, Top Toy opened its first store in Lanzhou, Gansu province. The store attracted more than 30,000 customers on its opening day with long queues outside seeking its pop toys.

The company also plans to open stores in major cities in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. It has also launched an online store on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall. It will further expand online sales channels by opening stores on JD and short video platform Douyin.

Compared with Hong Kong-listed pop toy brand Pop Mart, which mainly sells trendy toys packaged randomly in boxes, Top Toy offers toys in eight main categories such as building blocks, garage kits, sculptures and blind boxes containing cartoon figurines.

Other Chinese pop toy retailers such as 52Toys and Beijing Block 12 Culture Co Ltd are also enjoying good performances and expanding their presence at home and abroad. China's blind boxes have been exported to the United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and some other countries.

For blind boxes or mystery boxes, buyers will be able to choose the series of a group of figurines, but don't know what they will exactly get until after purchase, thus adding to the fun of purchasing.
Last year, online sales revenue of blind boxes in China surged more than 400 percent on a yearly basis, according to a research report by consultancy CBNData.

Some 70 percent of Top Toy's products are purchased from iconic intellectual property based on anime characters and the remaining 30 percent of its IP is designed in-house or collaboratively. The retailer has signed cooperation agreements with more than 200 brands. It also launched an innovative design center in late April.

Top Toy said the main consumer group for trendy toys are aged between 15 and 39, and China has a demographic of nearly 500 million people in this age bracket. Last year, customer numbers of pop toys on Tmall surged 100 times compared with that of 2019.

China's toy market has witnessed the fastest growth worldwide and is expected to become the largest in the world by 2022, passing the $25 billion US industry, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Meanwhile, Danish toy retailer Lego Group plans to open a group of new stores in China to hitch a ride on the country's booming growth.