As their middle class emerges, they are smart enough to not buy their own toys for their kids. With usually only one child per household, the kid is often growing leverage in purchase decisions.When freelance writer Wang Jian shops for toys for her 5-year-old son, she's happy to pay extra for Legos blocks and Japanese-brand train sets.The reason, she and other parents say: Foreign brands enjoy a reputation for higher quality -- a perception reinforced by the product scares of recent months."We pay close attention to the news about toy and food safety. If I find a problem with a certain brand, I will just stop using it for sure," said Wang, who writes for film magazines. http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071215/WDH03/712150390/1618/WDHbusinessThe preference is evident in the gargantuan New World Department Store in Shanghai's commercial heart.Shelves are crowded with foreign-brand models and remote-control cars, the ubiquitous Legos from Denmark, Mattel Inc.'s Barbies, Transformers made by Japan's Bandai.Chinese-brand toys are crammed into a few shelves stacked with dolls and toddler toys made by Star Moon Toys, a manufacturer in the southern city of Dongguan that also makes toys for some of the world's biggest brands. ... times and tastes are changing. China toy sales are growing about 20 percent a year as living standards rise with the buoyant economy."Sure, foreign brands toys are about 40 percent to 50 percent more expensive than domestic ones, but I think it's worthwhile," said Wang, a churchgoing Christian who raises her son with her computer engineer husband."The design is much better, unlike domestic-brand toys that kids get bored with quickly because the quality isn't good. Plus, they break easily," she said. "That's 108 yuan (about $15)," he said of a sleek, silvery foreign-brand yo-yo. "It's expensive but it's really good."Local-brand yo-yos were piled on a table outside the store -- priced at about $1.20."The foreign-branded products definitely sell better. Those are the ones the kids want," said Liu. "The quality's just so much better. The others, well ..."
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