Lego is to build its first factory in Asia as the toymaker taps into surging demand in the region and continues its push to add production in low-cost countries.

The Danish maker of toy bricks will start building a factory in Jiaxing, China, next year. When the factory opens in 2017 it will only supply parts to Asia, which is set to become the world’s biggest market for toys. The plant is expected to meet 70-80 per cent of total regional demand for Lego.

Lego’s sales have almost tripled since 2007, making it the world’s second-largest toymaker by revenues behind Mattel. Asia has played a big part in its success, as its annual sales increase by more than 50 per cent in recent years. It is also highly profitable, with net profits last year of about $1bn and a gross profit margin of 71 per cent.

Jiaxing is located around 100km from Shanghai, where Lego is planning to build a regional distribution centre for Asia. Its Chinese factory will follow plants in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Mexico as the group diversifies away from its roots in central Denmark in the countryside town of Billund.

The plant will employ about 2,000 workers once it is fully operational in 2017 and Lego will invest more than €100m to build it.

“It is our strategy to have production close to our core markets in order to secure short lead-time and world class service to our customers and consumers, and it has proven a successful strategy. Asia – including China – is a future core market for the Lego Group,” said Bali Padda, Lego’s chief operating officer.
乐高首席营运官巴利•帕达(Bali Padda)表示:“我们的战略是在靠近核心市场的地方生产,以便缩短交货期,为我们的客户和消费者提供世界级的服务。事实证明这是一个成功的战略。包括中国在内的亚洲地区是乐高集团未来的核心市场。”

He added that the new factory would be more environmentally friendly by reducing the need to transport Lego pieces between Europe and Asia.

The privately owned Danish toymaker has enjoyed a renaissance after it expanded too quickly at the end of the last century and started to run up losses. An outside chief executive, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp who came from McKinsey, cut jobs and product lines and boosted production outside Denmark.
乐高是一家丹麦私营玩具制造企业。上世纪末,乐高曾由于过快扩张而出现亏损,但近年又重返增长。曾在麦肯锡(McKinsey)工作的首席执行官Jørgen Vig Knudstorp,先后裁员并削减了生产线,还推动公司在丹麦以外的地方建厂。

Recent success has come from building sets linked to films such as Stars Wars and The Hobbit as well as Lego Friends, a new line aimed at girls.
乐高最近的成功源于该公司推出了以《星球大战》(Stars Wars)和《霍比特人》(The Hobbit)等影片为主题的积木,以及新为女孩设计的Lego Friends系列。