German craftsman and his Chinese Dream --A thriving toy store on the “Belt and Road”(Part One)
Through the ages, people’s aspiration for better lives have driven cultural,
social and economic exchanges among different regions,
and in the process everyone has made his or her own contribution.
Since China started reform and opening-up 40 years ago,
a large number of foreigners have come to China to pursue their dreams.
They witness China’s progress, and become a new generation of Silk Roaders.
Graceful “Belt and Road”
Peter Handstein is 58 years old this year.
He came to China from Germany 30 years ago.
The first decade of China’s reform and opening-up had just passed at the time.
On the market, besides basic daily necessities,
children’s toys just began to be available in department stores.
Peter, for his experience in the toy business, saw an opportunity.
With a small workshop,
this young German started his toy business in China,
introducing his ideas about toys to the country.
At that time, Peter expected that his toy factory
could receive and fulfill more overseas orders.
Made in China and sold abroad,
export-oriented economy developed rapidly during that period.
Foreign business people found a land of opportunities in China.
Peter was born in a small village in central Germany.
His ancestors were blacksmiths in the village.
He began to learn the craft from his elder generation at a very young age.
(“Iron Roses” Peter forged for his family members)
Having finished his study, Peter didn’t become a blacksmith like his father,
Instead, he started to make toys in his garage.
Thanks to creativity and fine quality,
Peter’s toys were introduced to over 100 kindergartens in Germany.
Peter got enough money and moved to a new manufacturing base.
Taking the first two letters of his name (Handstein Peter),
he gave his company the new name “Hape”.
Since then, Peter inscribed his name and idea deeply into “Hape”.
Today, Hape’s marketing center in Europe
is still here, overseeing all business in Germany, Switzerland and other regions
Over 30 years have passed.
The logo on the wall of the old building remains what it was,
quietly telling visitors about its history.
From Köln to Donauwörth,
Perter Kirche accompanied us,
briefing us on Hape’s development in Europe.
Like many transnational corporations,
Hape’s research and design used to be oriented mainly at European and American
forming the pattern of “designed in Europe and America, made in China and sold
In recent years, with the rapid growth of China’s economy,
the Chinese market is increasingly important.
In Hape’s characteristic wooden toys,
more and more Chinese elements can be found.
Focusing on the integration of multiple cultures
has brought Hape its current market position.
When you pick up a little wooden toy,
you may find the answer from children’s smile.
China’s booming Internet economy
is profoundly changing traditional marketing models.
Peter understands that online trade is changing the world.
He not only opened Hape’s online store in Tmall，
but also introduced China’s Taobao to his European partner Joerg•De•Brown.
When we came to Joerg’s physical store in Germany,
他兴奋的向我们展示了他的“线上线下”。[ Editor: Xueying ]