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Popularity in China and other East Asian Countries

Can anyone offer insight into the popularity of Lego in China and other East Asian countries and the potential for growth there? If Lego caught fire in these areas it could be momentous for the value of retired sets. I see very little mention of this here and it makes me wonder if there is some legal or cultural barrier in play. Why is such an excellent international product not already popular in these parts of the world? Simply because TLG hasn't fostered a primary market there? Are there any plans to do so?

Comments

  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,909
    I know LEGO is really popular in Hong Kong. While I was in HK, I visited China and this department store. They had an extensive LEGO/toy section and had plenty of exclusives such as the Town Plan and I believe the modulars.

    I'm so mad at myself for not picking up the Town Plan while I was there. :( It would of have been a pain to bring back to Canada though.

    I also did some price conversions and the prices in China/HK were generally way higher than in North America.
  • itsnotmeitsnotme Member Posts: 111
    @LegobrandonCP Interesting, thanks. So the extensive LEGO display you mentioned was in mainland China? Would be curious to hear if anyone knows how long they've been available there. It's interesting that there seem to be a lot of Bricklink sellers in Hong Kong and Seoul, but little participation from them here that I know of despite the prevalence of English-speakers.
  • BrianBrian Guest Posts: 87
    edited December 2012
    I visited Beijing last summer. In a mall, I found a "real" Lego store like the ones in the US (really should have taken pictures). Some toy shops carried Lego, mostly City. I remember a shop having a sale, selling 3222 for $45. My friend owned a store that carried Lego and gave me a 50% discount. Even at that price, sets were still RRP or above. I'm guessing more than 75% of the sets were retired because they have been sitting for at least a couple of years. So in my experience, Lego is not popular at all in China.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,258
    @itsnotme- I sell lots of figures to Asia. Your original post mentions sets, but minifigures are also very prominent in the secondary market. There are definitely a multitude of collectors there (at least for figures). I also am offered and see lots of LEGO items offered from Asian countries.

    I guess it just varies from which part you travel too.. LEGO seems to have varying influence across the continent... Asia is quite large after all! :-)
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    edited December 2012
    On my LEGO blog I have several readers from Asia. Below are a couple of guest-posts readers from Asia wrote. Especially the first one is really interesting because he talks about the Hong Kong LEGO marketplace:
    http://thebrickblogger.com/2012/05/lego-hong-kong/
    http://thebrickblogger.com/2012/11/lego-shell-ferrari-collection/

    I also did a quick check on my stats. The number one Asian country visiting my blog is Singapore (in fact it is number 10 overall) with over 24,000 unique visitors. The next is Vietnam with over 13,000 unique visitors, with the Phillippines, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia right behind. Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and India are further down the list, but still with several thousand unique visitors. Some of them are very active commenters. I'm sure Huw can also share the stats from Brickset for some interesting insights. But the point is there are definitely LEGO fans over there.

    I remember reading somewhere in a LEGO publication that oddly LEGO Castle is the most popular in Asia. Yes, that is European style castles and knights! Pretty interesting...

    Also, some of the best LEGO customizers are from Asia; BrickTW (from Taiwan), Amazing Armory (Hong Kong), Breakthrough Army (Hong Kong), Arealight (Taiwan), Custom Crazy (Malaysia), and there is more. So obviously there are fans of the hobby.

    Another proof is their LEGO conventions. Fan-made LEGO creations are insanely huge, intricate and really off the charts as far as creativity and design. You can search flickr to find them.

    There are several LEGO blogs and forums for Asian LEGO fans as well. Perhaps that is the reason why they don't hang out here as much; they have their own online venues.

    Also, there is a LEGOLAND park that recently opened in Malaysia.

    On the dark-side, Asia is full of knock-off brands. Brands that blatantly copy LEGO sets down to the box design. So LEGO may have a hard time rooting all of those guys out. Copyright works differently over there. So it may not be LEGO's main market, but they are definitely there, and they are very popular...(c;
    itsnotme
  • itsnotmeitsnotme Member Posts: 111
    ^ Great - Thank you for the fantastic info! So clearly it's more popular than I realized but still a lot of room for growth. With the wealth being created in many of these areas and the affinity for displays of said wealth, it seems quite possible that these countries will make up a larger and larger percentage of aftermarket purchases moving forward.

    I know people are doing quite well satisfying the appetite that exists there for high quality Western goods via EBay. Would be nice if EOL Legos followed suit.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    edited December 2012
    I'm surprised that it is very popular, in South East Asia at least. Lego is so expensive. Every country I have been to Lego prices are a little higher than in Australia and we have some of the most of the expensive prices in the world. Singapore is probably your best bet as they have the much higher average wage compared to the rest of South East Asia.

    Malaysia's average wage is nearly one third of what ours in Australia is (Ok cost of living may be cheaper but..) so I’m surprised there is a large market for a toy such as Lego.
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