Topseat is flushed with suc­cess

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZOU SHUO in Bei­jing and YANG JUN in Guiyang Con­tact the writ­ers at zoushuo@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Imag­ine a toi­let seat so artis­tic that it shows dif­fer­ent col­or­ful pic­tures when the lid closes in slow mo­tion.

From the ones that glow at night to the ones that have 3D ef­fects, made-in-China toi­let seat cov­ers have won the hearts of Western cus­tomers.

Chi­nese toi­let seat maker Topseat is now sell­ing around 2 mil­lion toi­let seat cov­ers ev­ery year glob­ally, with its an­nual sales vol­ume reach­ing $26 mil­lion, said its com­pany ex­ec­u­tive.

“In Ger­many, we have taken a 60 per­cent share of the mar­ket for cus­tom­ized toi­let seats, with that for mid to high-end ones reach­ing 80 per­cent,” said Ni Sheng­ming, deputy gen­eral man­ager of the com­pany.

“At present, our main fo­cus is the Western mar­ket, as cus­tomers there pre­fer fash­ion­able toi­let seats with a com­fort­able user ex­pe­ri­ence, while Chi­nese ones fa­vor clean white seats,” said Ni.

In 2015, re­ports of Chi­nese tourists swarm­ing into stores in Ja­pan dur­ing the Chi­nese New Year holidays and buy­ing all of the elec­tronic toi­let seats in stock sparked heated dis­cus­sion and even furor among Chi­nese ne­ti­zens, when it was later dis­cov­ered that they were made in China.

Smart toi­lets, along with air pu­ri­fiers and rice cook­ers, were in­cluded by a guide­line re­leased by the State Coun­cil in April 2016 to im­prove qual­ity-ori­ented in­dus­tries and the qual­ity of made-in-China prod­ucts.

From its fac­tory in An­shun, South­west China’s Guizhou prov­ince, Topseat cre­ates bright dec­o­ra­tive toi­let seats from lo­cally sourced ma­te­ri­als such as bam­boo, straw stalks and bio-glues. Be­ing eco-friendly is one of the ma­jor rea­sons for the com­pany’s pop­u­lar­ity among Western cus­tomers, as they are more en­vi­ron­men­tally con­cerned, Ni said.

Topseat has signed a con­tract with Xi­ayun town­ship in An­shun, which pur­chases straw stalks from lo­cal farm­ers on be­half of the com­pany to turn the po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ards into busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. Sales of straw­made toi­let seats are ex­pected to top 200,000 this year, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

In­no­va­tion is an­other key to the com­pany’s suc­cess. It has more than 5,000 pat­tern de­signs, ev­ery­thing from green bam­boo leaves, fly­ing birds, whales, tur­tles and the Eif­fel Tower, and some even with re­lief sculp­tures and 3D ef­fects.

One well-re­ceived cover can be used for both adult and ba­bies, mak­ing it a good choice for potty train­ing. Topseat uses a mag­net to con­nect the tod­dler seat to the lid, so it is ba­si­cally hid­den when it is not used. In ad­di­tion, the chil­dren’s fin­gers will not get trapped as the lid and adult seat have the slow close fea­ture.

YANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

A man ex­am­ines a toi­let seat in a fac­tory in An­shun, Guizhou prov­ince, which makes col­or­ful seats with artis­tic de­signs.

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