Collecting imported toys has become a popular pastime among Chinese teenagers and has recently seen new trends: buying Bearbrick, the Japanese cartoon-like bear figurines, with prices soaring from a thousand yuan to hundreds and thousands of yuan per item, owing in part to logistical issues posed by the current pandemic.
The revelation that some teenagers are profiting hundreds and thousands of yuan by promoting the toy bear has also popped up online, even reaching the top of China’s similar to Twitter platform, Sina Weibo’s popular search list, earlier this year.
The Bearbrick, which comes in six sizes and was constructed of plastic, metal, wood, and other materials, was first introduced in Japan around August 2001 by Medicom Toy. It has then gained popularity in China in recent years as a result of celebrity endorsements from toy lovers.
Collectors and dealers of the item told the Global Times last March that the price of the toy had increased by thirty to fifty percent since last year, with the costliest model retailing for hundreds and thousands of yuan. Many have nicknamed it “the toy for the privilege of the affluent” due to its astronomical price.
Its “crazy” price was confirmed by one prominent collector of the toys, who went by the alias Pangpangxiong on Sina Weibo’s list. According to Pangpangxiong, some editions of the items that initially costed 10,000 yuan are now selling it for 60,000 yuan – a fivefold increase.
Due to these trying times, logistics in Japan were suspended, so collectors were only able to acquire the toy through intermediaries, which then caused costs to skyrocket, according to another toy collector.
Today, many people have started buying Bearbricks, not just because they enjoy it, but also because it is technically pricey and difficult to get. As a result, some non-collectors have begun to purchase the toy in the hopes of reselling it at a greater price and profiting off it as well.