Multinational toy manufacturer Mattel has formed an alliance with e-commerce giant Alibaba in an effort to break into the $7 billion Chinese toy market .
Although the average per-child spending on toys in China is much lower than the Japanese and U.S. toy industries, there have been signs of growth. Mattel and Alibaba’s plan involves leveraging Ailbaba’s knowledge of the Chinese consumers for Mattel’s well-known brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price.
Mattel’s new CEO, Margo Georgiadis, highlighted the benefits of the combining Mattel’s “unmatched expertise in childhood learning and development with Alibaba’s immense reach and unique consumer insights.” She noted that there is great potential for growth due to the fragmentation of the Chinese toy market, saying that “working with Alibaba, we see a terrific opportunity to develop and lead the category.”
Research has suggested that when Chinese parents have more disposable income, they tend to prefer to buy their children products that can further their education. Mattel aims to develop toys that can be enjoyed, but also benefit children academically.
In a blog, Mattel’s Vice President of China Growth Patty Wu, says, “Toys and play are an important part of a child’s early development, helping to drive IQ and EQ [emotional intelligence] development.”