Craig Hendrickson, vice president of product development and marketing at University Games, speaks during an interview with Xinhua at the company's booth at the 2020 Toy Fair New York in New York, the United States, Feb. 25, 2020. From startups to century-old businesses, many exhibitors at the annual American International Toy Fair held in New York City have highlighted China's valuable role in the global supply chain, hoping to strengthen their partnerships. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
NEW YORK, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- From startups to century-old businesses, many exhibitors at the annual American International Toy Fair held in New York City have highlighted China's valuable role in the global supply chain, hoping to strengthen their partnerships.
"About 95 percent of our business comes out of China with Chinese partnerships in manufacturing, so they are a key supplier in the global toy business and games business," Craig Hendrickson, vice president of product development and marketing at University Games, told Xinhua on Tuesday at the event.
Founded in 1985, the San Francisco-based company has developed and manufactured hundreds of games, puzzles, and children's learning and activity sets.
The 35-year-old U.S. game company has been working with Chinese partners from the very beginning, said Hendrickson.
"The partnership has been really good because of the quality of products that we get from China," he said, adding the company's Chinese suppliers are very accurate at crafting goods.
Calling Chinese suppliers "very good partners," Hendrickson said the steady long-term relationship has been "helping us develop our business."
China is a hub of the global toy industry, with about 85 percent of toy products sold in the U.S. manufactured by Chinese suppliers, according to the U.S. Toy Association, a non-profit trade group representing 950 of the domestic businesses behind the annual 28-billion-U.S. dollar toy market.
For Alex Tongue, CEO of Vango, a toy and game company founded last year in the U.S. state of Oregon, working with Chinese suppliers is a wise choice, as "they can do it economically."
At the exhibition, the company debuted its new game, a product manufactured in southern China's Guangdong Province, said Tongue.
"Most toys and games are made in China. I trust them in making high-quality and cost-effective products," he said.
China's prowess in integrating resources has boosted its position in the global toy industry, Hyatt Liao, employee of Hog Wild Toys, told Xinhua.
"It is often the case that China has a complete industry chain able to manufacture all the components of our products. That's terrific," said Liao, adding the Oregon-based toy company has more than a decade of history working with Chinese partners.
"Currently, almost all of our products are manufactured in China," Colleen Morrison, e-commerce marketing manager of a New Jersey-based manufacturer of plush stuffed animals, told Xinhua.
In the 1980s, China became one of Gund's primary sources for stuffed toys, with the 122-year-old factory -- currently a division of Canadian toy company Spin Master -- expecting "this mutually beneficial relationship" to continue, said Morrison.
Recently, however, toy makers who depend on Chinese manufacturing have been weighing the potential impact of the novel coronavirus.
With toy manufacturers and analysts saying the epidemic may affect the development and release of products, some industry players are making efforts to overcome the obstacles the epidemic has presented.
"That's been a challenge for us to make sure that our retailers are supplied with the right products, so we're planning ahead with each of our partners," said Hendrickson.
He said that most of University Games' Chinese partners are located in the south of China, noting the news that some Chinese factories have started to partly resume production has eased supply shortage concerns.
"The Chinese government and the factories are doing a great job, really planning ahead and making sure that they get ahead of the virus, so that we're ready to continue our operations just as soon as everything is clear," said Hendrickson.
Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Association, told Xinhua that U.S. toy businesses are watching the situation closely, while mulling ways to mitigate the epidemic's impact.
Pasierb said China, equipped with a great workforce, good factories and a vertically integrated supply chain, will continue to play a leading role in toy manufacturing in the foreseeable future.
The four-day fair concluded on Tuesday, drawing more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the world and showcasing some 150,000 toys, games and youth entertainment products.
Inaugurated in 1903, the exhibition is a major gathering for toy manufacturers and industry insiders worldwide.