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Sourcing from China in an age of uncertainty
In this CEO Webinar, we will discuss the challenges of sourcing from China with Jay Foreman, president and CEO of Basic Fun! A major U.S. toy company that owns brands such as Care Bears, Fisher-Price Classic, K’NEX, Lincoln Logs, Lite-Brite, Tonka, and many more.
In this CEO Webinar, we will discuss the challenges of sourcing from China with Jay Foreman, president and CEO of Basic Fun! a global toy company based in Florida and Craig Allen, President of the US China Business Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing over 200 American companies doing business with China.
Basic Fun! produces many well-known brands including K’nex, Uncle Milton, PlayHut, Tonka and Care Bears; most of which are produced in China. When Jay started working with Chinese companies in late 1989 most suppliers were government-owned factories in North China, and over the last 30 years — and over 100 trips later — he has seen the industry move to private ownership and the development of Southern China as China’s manufacturing center.
If you are interested in how sourcing from China has changed over time and what the future may bring, then join Christopher Marquis, Cornell professor and host of the China Corner Office Podcast, for a live CEO Webinar discussion on July 7 at 1pm EDT with Jay Foreman and Craig Allen.
Jay is an accomplished toy industry veteran and businessman with over three decades of experience. His accomplishments include being a founding member of Play By Play, in the early 90’s, culminating in a successful IPO in 1995. He later went on to work for Galoob Toys, where he created the Spice Girls doll line in 1997. In 1999, he co-founded Play Along Toys, selling it to JAKKS Pacific in 2004. Prominent lines included Britney Spears dolls and toys, the successful re-launches of both Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids, Hannah Montana dolls and toys, and Doodle Bear. In 2009 he founded The Bridge Direct, which had a variety of popular toy lines from classics like Strawberry Shortcake, Mini Arcade Games, Fisher-Price Classics, and Lite-Brite, to on-trend entertainment licenses including Justin Bieber dolls and The Hobbit action figures. In 2017, the company purchased Uncle Milton and shortly after merged with Tech4Kids, later rebranding to become the fast-growing company now known as Basic Fun! In 2018, Basic Fun! acquired K'NEX and Playhut. Basic Fun! is the licensee for some of the industry's biggest classic brands including TONKA, Pound Puppies and Care Bears, and has created proprietary brands such as Cutetitos. Jay has sat on the board of directors of the Toy Association, as well as Licensing International, and currently is chairman of the Toy Association’s trade show committee which manages all the TA’s trade shows and events, including New York Toy Fair.
On July 26, 2018, Craig Allen began his tenure as the sixth President of the United States-China Business Council (USCBC), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing over 200 American companies doing business with China. Prior to joining USCBC, Craig had a long, distinguished career in US public service. His last government position was as US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam (December 2014–July 2018). Before that, Craig served in Washington as Deputy Assistant Secretary for China (2012–2014) in the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia (2010–2012).
Chris Marquis is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Prior to joining Cambridge, he worked at Cornell and for 10 years at Harvard Business School and has held visiting professorships at Harvard Kennedy School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Peking University, Fudan University, and Shanghai Jiaotong University. Marquis’ current teaching and research examines how the interaction between corporations, governments and civil society lead to socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes, with a particular focus on China. In the fall of 2022 will publish a new book titled Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise that examines the unique form of entrepreneurship and market development that has occurred in China over the last 40 years. He received a PhD in sociology and business administration from the University of Michigan.