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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                 3  August  2011

Dangerous Chinese toys in Vietnam

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Due to varied designs, imported toys have been attracting plenty of Vietnamese customers despite concerns regarding their quality and safety.

As much as 90 percent of domestically sold toys have been made in China, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry statistics.

China's General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in June announced its finding that one tenth of tested toys had sharp edges and contained poisonous substances.

Le Mai Phuong, a Hoang Mai District resident, who when choosing a set of cooking toys on Luong Van Can Street in Hanoi, said that while she had heard talk that Chinese toys were poisonous, her daughter refused to play with domestically made ones because they were ugly.

In order to satisfy customers, toyshop owners often sell a large array of imported toys.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hong, owner of a toyshop on Luong Van Can Street, said that her shop sold only a small amount of domestically made toys seeing as they struggled to compete with their Chinese counterparts.

"While most customers care more about color and design than origin," Hong said, "Chinese toys are around 20 percent cheaper than domestic ones."

Ta Dung, a toyshop owner on Hang Ma Street, said that, although Vietnamese toys usually sell slowly, she always tries supporting local toy makers.

"When domestic toy makers beg me to help them sell their products, I can do little but accept," Dung said.

Though domestic toy quality is good, they are not as beautiful or as varied as foreign ones, only focusing on products such as cars, teddy bears and dolls, she added.

However, some domestic toy makers, such as the Duc Thanh JSC, have managed to find a niche in the market and impress local parents.

Le Thanh Quang, a Dong Da District resident, said that he had always chosen Duc Thanh's wooden toys for his 5-year-old son.

"The toys are safe for my son to play with. Although they are quite expensive, they are durable, which means my son can eventually pass them on to his younger brother," Quang said.

The Robot Tosy JSC, which created the Tosy AFO Flying Saucer, was the first domestic toy company to export its product to the US in 2004.

Following upgrading, one million flying saucers have been exported to the US, the company's International Public Relation Manager, Pham Huyen Trang, said, adding that the toy had proved successful due to its eye catching design.


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