Kolkata: There has been an unexpected fall of the high-altitude border between China and India, about 2,500 km in Kolkata. This has severely affected the supply of mid-range and high-end toys in the city, which relies heavily on imports from China.
If things do not improve soon, children – especially children between the ages of three and 10 – may soon have little to play with.
Currently, more than 80% of the toy market is made up of imports. Of this, more than 90% are imported from China. Malaysia, Hong Kong, UK and Germany make up the remainder, but compared to China figures, the volume is less than zero. Now, deteriorating relations with China have led to a severe shortage of battery-operated and remote-controlled toys, toy cars and bikes, even soft toys, exporters and retailers said.
Akshay Birnjka, Secretary, West Bengal Exim Association And the vice president of the All India Toy and Baby Products Association told TOI that importers and distributors were nervous for fear of a sudden ban on China-made toys. There were some stocks on hand, he said, but it would be enough for just a few months. After that, the void will be felt, he explained.
He said that around 70% of the country’s Rs 10,000-12,000 crore toy market was imported from China, and Kolkata had a 25% share. “Kolkata also reaches the north-east, other eastern states and some parts of eastern UP,” he said, adding that “the value of imports to Kolkata would be over Rs 2,000 crore annually.”
Bengal alone is a Rs 1,000 crore market, while Kolkata alone accounts for Rs 700-750 crore. The city has more than 2,000 toy retail shops, while the statewide figure is 5,000. Binjaraka said that the Center has been trying to curb toy imports from China in the last two years, but Indigenous manufacturing The high end toys had not happened yet.
In the last budget on toys, customs duty was increased from 20% to 60%, which led to a price increase. The main wholesale market for toys in the city is Canning Street; The major retail markets are China Market, Fariyapukur and Bagdi Market. Souvik Ghosh, a toy retailer in Fariyakukur, said the toy industry would cease to exist if imports were banned. Sugar Toys, as there was no Indian manufacturer for the production of battery operated remote controlled toys. “We sell huge amounts of battery-powered toys for the four to 10 age group,” he said. “For every Rs 1 lakh sold, as much as Rs 80,000 will be such toys are imported from China.”
However, Amit Poddar, a leading toy retailer and distributor, was more optimistic. In the case of import restrictions on Chinese toys, there will be a shortfall for about nine-10 months, he said, but indigenous manufacturing will gradually compensate for this. “There are some good manufacturers in India who are making educational and board toys. If they get the opportunity, I am sure high-end toys can be made here, ”he said.