With the improvement of China’s urbanization level and the continuous and rapid growth of the cultural tourism market, outdoor Children’s playgrounds are gradually becoming a new type of amusement product and gradually formed with education, rural areas, scenic spots, vacations, and IP Diversified combination of other development environments. In the future, China’s outdoor Children’s playgrounds will increasingly become the “adhesive” for the comprehensive development of multiple formats, more and more highlighting the “themed” characteristics, and may become an essential and accurate online traffic portal, but the lack of standards and other issues are also troubled industry development.
Unlike “playgrounds” in general, outdoor unpowered amusement parks refer to unpowered amusement facilities and equipment as the main content, and consumers are composed of children aged 3-14 and their parents as the primary service objects. The spatial integration of products and services with independent commercial significance is characterized by an organized and oriented play style to operate and pursue the ultimate profit.
The prototype of China’s Children’s playground can be traced back to the 1980s. In the 30 years of industry development, the vast majority of “parks” have appeared in the form of “combinations of unpowered amusement rides,” which cannot be called outdoor unpowered “parks.” An indeed independently operated outdoor parent-child playground appeared in 2016. As a pioneer of this model, Chengdu Squirrel Tribe started planning in 2013 and was officially completed in 2016.
Since then, several similar projects have appeared in China in the Yangtze River Delta, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, two major urban agglomerations, and around the provincial capital cities in Central China. Among them, those that can represent the development level of parent-child outdoor Children playgrounds include: the park opened on October 1, 2017, China’s first Changsha Bella town featuring parent-child research and education; Ji Gaotu, an innovative introduction of Shanghai Disney International Tourism Resort For the first time, Wowo Parent-Child Garden takes parent-child entertainment and social interaction as a product creation concept; Beijing Damei Children’s World has built a comprehensive format of leisure and vacation in the suburbs of the city around the children’s playground; China’s first pastoral complex Wuxi “Pastoral East” is a tractor farm built in the project And Plants vs. Zombies Park, implanted new functional elements and IP-based practices for the development of the pastoral complex; the Star Chita, the most significant camping town in Hengqin, Zhuhai, China, which will open in June 2019, has no power In the world, the parent-child outdoor playground and campsite are integrated and developed.
In addition to the above-mentioned representative projects, there are nearly 1,000 small-scale “park-in-garden” outdoor unpowered playgrounds in China, jointly promoting the popularization and development of outdoor unpowered amusement, an emerging cultural tourism industry.
(1) The official appearance of the concept of “Unpowered.”
On December 30, 2011, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China and the Standardization Administration of China jointly issued [GB/T27689 2011] “National Standards for Children’s Slides for Unpowered Amusement rides,” from June 1, 2012, Officially implemented, this is the first time that the name and definition of unpowered amusement rides have been officially determined at the national level.
Unpowered small amusement rides are those without any power devices such as electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic. They comprise functional parts and structures, fasteners, and connecting parts such as climbing, sliding, drilling tubes, walking ladders, swings, etc. It is mainly suitable for amusement rides for children aged 3-14.
(2) The era background of the transition from the unpowered amusement facility industry to the outdoor unpowered amusement park
The comprehensive liberalization of the two-child policy, the improvement of people’s material living standards, and the continuous improvement of consumption awareness have greatly affected the expectations of the children’s consumption market. The new policy will bring significant benefits to children-related industries. Research Center of Yingshi Group It shows that the compensatory baby boom will quickly and effectively promote the upgrading of children’s consumption, accelerate the development of the children’s industry, and lay a solid demand foundation for the prosperity of the children’s industry. However, behind this group of “post-80s” and “post-90s,” parents are the primary consumers of the new generation; there is an extreme demand for quality, experience, trendy and interactive outdoor “baby walk” space, and the popularity of the parent-child travel market continues to rise. They helped the emergence of outdoor Children’s playgrounds.
On the other hand, since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), exchanges, economic exchanges, and cultural integration with other countries have become increasingly high. Many world-class brands of unpowered amusement facilities in Europe and the United States have also entered the Chinese market. The amusement equipment industry and the leading brands in the European and American industries are also communicating more frequently. The Chinese industry is also constantly learning, summarizing, and cooperating with the top brands in the European and American industries. The gap between the European and American sectors is gradually narrowing. This also provides a strong impetus for China to develop from a “playground” that piles up unpowered facilities to an outdoor unpowered playground.
These favorable factors will bring huge market potential in the outdoor Children’s playground industry, making the market capacity show a blowout development trend. Although there are many good factors, there are still many unfavorable factors restricting the development of the industry that need to be resolved urgently.
(3) China’s outdoor Children’s playgrounds are booming, but the operation management and industry standards are seriously lagging behind
After 2015, with the gradual concern of the industry as a whole for user experience, more independently operated “parks” have entered the market, officially opening the prelude to the development of outdoor unpowered “parks.”
According to incomplete statistics from industry insiders, there are currently nearly 1,000 parks operating in China featuring “outdoor Children’s playgrounds,” with a single investment of 2 million to 20 million yuan. Among them, from landscape architecture companies based on design services to family workshop-style production enterprises, they have flooded the market one after another, and the product supply capacity and quality are uneven.
From a layman’s point of view, an outdoor Children’s playground is beautiful, fun, low investment, and fast landing. However, from a professional point of view, it is far more than what it appears to be. There is a high safety threshold for outdoor Children’s playgrounds. The structural design of the equipment, the quality of accessories, the strength of materials, and the safety distance between the equipment, even as small as plant selection, etc., all have stringent standards and high technical content. Similarly, since most of the outdoor Children’s playgrounds serve parent-child family customers and use the outdoor environment as the carrier, the requirements on the operation side are also very high.
In terms of the safety of the equipment itself, China is more eager for quick success and quick success, and often only imitates its shape quickly, ignoring its core structural design and safety control, which leads to a meager yield rate of domestic equipment, a very high repair rate, and a significant safety hazard. In terms of the warranty period, the period in Europe and the United States is 2-25 years, but the usual situation in China is one year of free warranty.
The relevant safety standards implemented by developed countries such as Europe and the United States regarding industry laws and regulations are mandatory. On the other hand, in China, although the industry of unpowered amusement rides began to implement [GB/T27689 2011] “National Standard for Children’s Slides of Unpowered Amusement Rides” on June 1, 2012, it is a pity that this standard is a recommended national standard, rather than mandatory authentication. This has led to industry manufacturers not paying enough attention to national standards and disregarding severe cases. Products are produced at will, lacking quality and safety awareness, and the market is flooded with many products that do not meet safety standards and are shoddy. Security poses a considerable risk. The fundamental solution is to introduce mandatory national standards, strengthen industry supervision, and improve the entry threshold and overall industry level.