China produces three-quarters of the world’s tvs, air conditioners, and sex toys.


Over 70 percent of the world’s sex toys are made in China. Before the 2008 financial crisis, six out of seven of them were exported. After it, China’s sex-toy exports dropped by a quarter, but domestic appetite for them had grown, and has kept growing. More than 1,000 Chinese manufacturers are hoping to capitalize, like the Ningbo Yamei plastic-toy factory in Fenghua, Zhejiang, which entered the business only three years ago. Of the 300,000 vibrators it made last year, two-thirds remained in the country.

China may have the world’s second-largest economy, but the economies of its best customers, Europe and the USA, are in trouble. China needs to start selling products within its borders: domestic consumer spending still only contributes to around a third of its economic growth, compared to 70 percent in the USA. But the main obstacle may be that, as recently as 2009 the number of Chinese people living on less than US$2 a day was over 468 million – more than the populations of the USA, Canada and Mexico combined. There is hope – average incomes in China have risen 13 percent in the past year – but the economic giant’s GDP per person is still lower than that of Albania.


From the pages of COLORS #85 - Going to Market.