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China toymakers go bust in 2008

BEIJING, October 14 – More than half of China\’s toy exporters have gone bust in 2008, hit by rising production costs, the stronger yuan and tightened safety standards in export markets, state media reported on Tuesday.

A total of 3,631 enterprises that made toys for export, or 52.7 percent of all such businesses, have gone out of business in the first seven months of the year, Xinhua news agency reported.

The businesses were mainly smaller producers with an export value of less than 100,000 dollars, it said, citing a report by the General Administration of Customs.

"Last year was the most difficult time in decades for the Chinese toy industry," Liang Mei, the vice chairman of the China Toy Association, was quoted as saying.

China is the world\’s largest toy producer and exporter, sending about 17 billion of them to overseas markets in 2007, according to Chinese customs data.

In the first seven months of 2008, China exported 35.3 billion yuan (5.17 billion dollars) worth of toys, up 1.3 percent from the same period in 2007.

However, the growth rate of those exports was 21.8 percent slower than last year, Xinhua said.

It said exports to the United States dropped 5.2 percent to 1.62 billion dollars over that period.

Following a string of overseas product recalls over unsafe Chinese-made toys, some Western export markets have recently tightened up on safety requirements.

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The move dealt a blow to many Chinese producers, Liang was quoted as saying, by raising their production costs.

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