Sad development in Chinese toy recall

Scott Tong Aug 13, 2007


Scott Jagow: Mattel’s recent recall of almost a million toys has had some unintended consequences. The head of the Chinese company that made the parts for these toys apparently killed himself over the weekend. He was found in one of the company’s warehouses, according to a Chinese newspaper. More now from Scott Tong in Shanghai.

Scott Tong: The reported suicide came days after Beijing banned exports by the company.

The firm Lee Der Industrial had made more than 900,000 toys recalled by Mattel. The toys included characters like Big Bird and Elmo.

Chinese media report the boss hanged himself on Saturday.

Shanghai manufacturing consultant Paul Stepanek says executives committing suicide because of honor occurs in Japan and Korea, but hardly ever in China. And if honor is involved here, he says in a way, it’s actually a good thing.

Paul Stepanek: That does represent progress, where you have people that take joy and pride in the work that they do. And right now I think that they’re in a stage of less joy and less pride and more focus on the bottom line.

Local news reports say the Chinese toy executive was betrayed by a close friend, who supplied the lead paint used on the toys.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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