It’s probably not surprising, considering everything’s Made in China(tm) – but did you know that this country assembles and exports 70% of the sex toys in the world? The industry, with over 1000 manufacturers making everything from vibrators to fetish clothing, is worth about $2 billion USD (roughly 13.5 billion RMB)! And apparently, if this old Guardian article is any indication, they’ve been on top for the last 5 years at least.
According to People’s Daily:
A report released by China Market Research Center said in just the first five months of this year, revenue reached $940 million.
South Africa takes almost 20 percent of the export market, with South Korea and Russia ranking second and third. Unusually, the US takes up about 2 percent of the market.
And the best-selling item: products to enhance sexual arousal such as stimulus condoms, which account for 21.5 percent of the market, the report said.
While that’s just about exports, the Chinese local market is booming as well, with an estimated 200,000 sex shops throughout China chalking up annual sales of at least 10 billion RMB (and that excludes “virility enhancers” and contraceptives).
Says China Daily:
One reason for the boom is that more Chinese are beginning to treat sex products as normal and natural. “Several years ago, people would feel very embarrassed to come into our shop and would even leave their change after buying something as they wanted to get out quickly,” Wen said.
“But things have changed, many customers will now bargain with us over the price.”
This is despite the Chinese government’s still prudish approach to sex. Even with rampant prostitution and vibrating condoms being sold at convenience stores, porn is still blocked and “Although it is not officially listed in media regulations, there exists an underlying rule that stops us from advertising,” said Li Fang, CEO of booming sex shop X.com.cn:
The CEO also noted that government rules have also tightened in the last two years.
“First we had the Olympic Games, then the ‘Two Sessions’ and most recently, the World Expo. The government has tried hard to eliminate online ‘vulgar culture’,” Li said.
“I don’t think we belong to this concept of ‘vulgar culture’, but they obviously believe it.”
But with changing attitudes towards sex meaning that the sex toy market here is, in some cases, surpassing that of the U.S.’ maybe a change to current regulations is on the horizon.
More sex toy news on Shanghaiist
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