The Danish toymaker plans to more than double the number of shops in China this year, increasing the number to 140.
As reported by Reuters, China is a particular bright spot for Lego though copycats remain a problem despite an announced government clamp-down. Lego plans to have around 140 shops in 30 different Chinese cities at the end of the year, up from 60 shops at present, most operated by local partners.
“I’m not really seeing any stagnation (in the Chinese toy market) at this time,” chief executive Niels B. Christiansen told Reuters at Nuremberg toy fair.
China reported its slowest economic growth in 28 years in 2018, and a trade war with the United States and rising amounts of personal debt have added to concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy. The country, whose toy and games market is worth $31b, accounts for less than 10% of Lego’s overall sales. But the importance of the market is growing after Lego opened a factory south of Shanghai in late 2016 and as Chinese parents shift away from a disciplined focus on learning towards free play.
“95% of Chinese parents want their kids to play more, and they are interested in giving them high quality toys,” Niels added.
Lego plans to open its third flagship store in Beijing in March and continue its partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent. It did not give any financial details on the planned 80 new shops.