Jul 24, 2020 08:26 PM

Toy Factory More Than Meets the Eye as ‘Fake Transformers’ Syndicate Smashed

What’s new: Shanghai police have broken up what they allege is a fake “Transformers” toy manufacturing ring worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Five suspects were detained across China and more than 30,000 toys and parts seized from a factory in Guangdong province’s eastern city of Shantou.

U.S. multinational toy-maker Hasbro Inc. claims the products, which were labeled as Transformers and sold online by a company called “Weijiang,” infringe its intellectual property rights.

The background: The roots of the investigation go back 15 months to when Hasbro’s local subsidiary reported online sales of unlicensed Transformers toys to Shanghai police, who led the case.

Authorities tied the toys to a man surnamed An, the boss of a Shanghai design company, who they say supplied plans for the counterfeit toys.

They say An was part of a criminal gang that ran the operation, including the Shantou plant that is said to have employed more than 130 full-time workers and operated eight production lines, shipping 1,500 pieces across China each day.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

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Contact reporter Flynn Murphy ( and editor Joshua Dummer (

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