Several Vietnamese companies have made plans to produce more creative children's toys to gain a larger share of the domestic market in the lead up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, according to an article published in the English language news website on July 28.

For years, the market for lanterns and toys for children has been dominated by Chinese producers because of their diverse designs and low prices. Vietnamese people, however, are increasingly concerned about the risks of buying Chinese products, especially for children, after numerous reports of the toxic chemicals used in the production of many Chinese toys.

Vietnamese toy makers have been taking advantage of this consumer trend by redesigning many of their products and sourcing their materials domestically.

“We’ve planned to produce anywhere from 600,000 to 700,000 lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival. That is twice what we made last year,” Huynh Van Khanh, Director of Ky Thuat Moi Package Company was quoted as saying.

Khanh added that the theme for this year's product line will be the East Sea, islands and archipelagos and the fishermen who sail those waters. These patriotically-themed toys will also celebrate figures from Vietnamese history, such as Saint Giong, King Ngo Quyen and the Trung Sisters.

“In order to reduce dependence on Chinese materials, we’ve invested in finding Vietnamese sources for lantern parts. We could not find a local producer of music chips, so we still have to order these from a Taiwanese partner. But we asked them to use Vietnamese children's music that is copyrighted in the country,” he emphasised.

Lam Thuy Nguyen Hong, Director of Gia Long Fine Arts Company, which is locally famous for the brand KIBU, said they are also using local materials in producing lanterns to keep better quality control. They also plan on doubling their production this year, as well as launching 40 new models of lanterns.

Hong said that, even though there is a rising trend among Vietnamese consumers to buy domestic products, there is still a high demand for low cost items with diverse and creative designs.

The people of Phu Binh, a traditional craft village that produces lanterns in Ho Chi Minh City, are busy keeping up with the increased number of orders from traders for the upcoming festival.

Chinese companies are not unaware of the trend, and many Chinese producers have started to copy Vietnamese product lines.

“We’ve registered for copyrights for all of our products, so any fake products would be an infringement on intellectual property rights. Last year, we sued one company, who ended up have to pay hundreds of millions of VND in compensation,” Hong added.-VNA