By Paul Chung
Image credit: @mikodenise.
For decades, Lego has successfully eschewed the ‘Made in China‘ label. That will soon change when the Danish toymaker opens its first Chinese factory in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.
The Jiaxing factory, about 100 kilometers from Shanghai, will be Lego’s fifth worldwide factory and supply somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of all Lego products sold across Asia. The plant will employ 2,000 workers when it opens in 2017.
“The new factory will be built and run with the same technology, automation and standards for employee safety and product quality as our Lego factories in Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Mexico,” said a Lego senior vice president, Michael McNulty.
The timing is surely not a coincidence. By 2016, Asia-Pacific will become the world’s largest toy market. In hopes of capitalizing on this demand, the world’s third largest toymaker bets that its new Chinese factory is its own building brick to core Asian markets. Lego sales in Asia have increased by 50 percent annually in past years and regional growth forecasts look positive.
In the wake of the recent Huangpu hogwash scandal, it’s perfectly reasonable for Shanghaiers to view anything coming from Jiaxing with suspicion. So long as Lego doesn’t start dumping toxic lead-infected Lego bricks into the Huangpu River, it’s all good.