• Toys "R" Us in China

Toys "R" Us in China (Photo : Getty Images)

International toy retailer Toys "R" Us Inc. plans to open 30 to 40 outlets in China annually. The stores will mostly be located in major cities as the retailer tries to reach more customers through its online stores.

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“China is our fastest growing market with more store openings than anywhere else in the world,” said Toys "R" Us China Managing Director Roy Sammartino.

By the end of April, the toy retailer has two online stores and 134 outlets in 55 Chinese cities. It has 883 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam, 795 international stores and 254 licensed stores across 37 countries.

According to Sammartino, a mix of online and offline business is necessary for providing customers with the easiest way of shopping. The toy business has a special nature with customers wanting to touch the products.

Last week, the managing director launched the limited-edition Redeco Optimus Prime toy from the movie "Transformers 5: The Last Knight" in Beijing and Guangzhou. The launch had a live streaming on its store on Tmall, China’s top online shopping platform.

“Internet retailing continues to gain a strong share, as the pricing of products in online stores helps it capture sales from other channels,” said Carol Lu, senior associate at Euromonitor International.

“For toy and game firms, Internet retailing is an important tool for marketing their products in regions where they have a limited presence,” Lu added.

Popular global and local movies drive the sales of toys and this effect persists for a long period, Sammartino said.

Hasbro China General Manager Zhang Yuchen agreed that toys and movies complement each other. Hasbro has been successful with its popular brands such as Marvel, Transformers, Star Wars and Play-Doh.

Aside from toys adapted from movies and TV programs, experience toys and educational toys are becoming a new trend for younger Chinese parents.

“How to learn a better character and values through playing with toys is what Chinese parents care about,” Zhang said.

In 2016, the Chinese toy and game market had a total value of 218 billion yuan ($31.6 billion); 70 billion yuan of which accounted for traditional toys and games, Euromonitor said.

Toys "R" Us is expanding to fulfill the growing demand of the Chinese toy market.