Hard on the heels of reporting a 15 percent growth rate, the world's biggest toy maker unveils its fifth global office, in London. Its CEO explains why little plastic figures are such a big hit. Ciara Lee reports.
It the toy that's been on children's' Christmas wish lists for over eighty years .... Lego. Now the Danish firm is expanding its dominance in the world of creative play. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER CIARA LEE, SAYING: "I'm here in London at the opening of Lego's new main office. It's been a bumper year for the world's biggest toy maker, posting fifteen percent global growth." The London hub is the fifth main office joining Singapore, Shanghai, the U.S. and Denmark CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp says it's all part of Lego's plan to build on its success. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEGO CEO JORGEN VIG KNUDSTORP, SAYING: "We think here we can attract a more diverse workforce than the one we could attract to our rural Danish location. Therefore we can attract the talent that we really need to grow in countries all over the world." That includes talent like Samuel, a Lego designer who wrote to the company about his career plans... when he was twelve. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEGO DESIGNER, SAMUEL THOMAS JOHNSON, SAYING: "They actually replied three weeks later. It was basically a list of qualifications of how to be a toy designer. And so I did everything on the list, I was determined I'm going to do this. And when I left university, I sent an email to Lego saying 'Hey I did everything on this list, so can I have a job?'" The global toy market has been sluggish in recent years. But Lego has outperformed, partly thanks to success in emerging markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEGO CEO JORGEN VIG KNUDSTORP, SAYING "As wealth grows across the countries, the interest in learning through play is growing. It's like that value is elevated in society. As society becomes more wealthy, the emphasis on creativity, the emphasis on high quality play materials. So I am very confident that as the world continues to grow in the next twenty years, and the global middle class is growing, then Lego can also find very attractive growth opportunities." Lego has had to adapt to the world of digital technology. Its success this year is also down to the popularity of its first movie. But the company says, staying true to its foundations of learning through play, has allowed it to build an empire.