Although it is not so glorious, I still want to write an article about the LEGO knock-off brand, so that everyone can learn more about the story of Chinese LEGO knock-off brands.
1.The origin of the LEGO brand and its position in the building block industry
Before introducing knock-off brands, let’s review the history of LEGO and give a reason for knock-offs.
LEGO was born in Denmark, the fairy tale kingdom in 1934, and was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a skilled carpenter. Yes, Lego toys at the beginning were all made of wood, and it was for this reason that LEGO was developed for the first time, because during World War II, Denmark was occupied by Germany, the government banned the import of toys, and The use of metal and rubber in toys is prohibited. It wasn’t until 11949 that Lego Plastic Bricks came out (and this year, New China was just established, is it a coincidence ?!).
As the war ended and the country lifted the ban, in 1959, LEGO began cleaning up wooden blocks, began using plastic blocks as its core product, and sold products to other countries, such as Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The subsequent development will not be described much. LEGO has been flying all the way and gradually became the leader of the building block industry. For more detailed information, please see WIKI here.
2. When does LEGO knock-offs and Brands appear in China?
As mentioned in the previous article, the earliest building block brand in China was Enlightenment, which was created in 1994, but Enlightenment is a legal brand. There are no knock-offs LEGO. The true knock-offs LEGO building block was probably in the 1990s. After China’s reform and opening up, LEGO toys began to enter the country, but due to the high price and weak Chinese brand awareness at that time, the knock-offs LEGO building blocks began to appear, and gradually began to have its own brand.
3. What are the LEGO knock-off brands in China
In China, there are many brands that counterfeit LEGO. The following are “famous”:
- Lepin: LEPIN is the most famous LEGO knock-off F brand in China. It has engraved all of Lego’s popular products. Its reputation has spread to places outside China. Even on Reddit, there is also a special Group for discussion. But maybe it is too “famous”. In April 2019, it was seized by the Chinese police. See here for details.
- LELE: It is ranked second because it has the fakest OFF LEGO series, including Creator & Architecture series, Star Wars series, Superhero series, Minecraft series, Ninjago series and so on.
- SHANG YUAN (sometimes written as SHEN YUAN): This is also a Chinese knock-offs brand. The main Knock-Off series include Marvel, Ninjago, and DC series, and also Minifigures.
- BELA: BELA hasn’t received much attention, but they also produce a lot of Lego knock-offs.
- Decool: Decool is a brick manufacturer that produces both sets and Minifigures.
Both BELA and DECOOL are on sale at this site, you can click here (BELA, DECOOL).
- LEPIN is dead but has another name: King/Queen
- Shen Yuan is also known ad S Brand．
4. How to distinguish between Chinese brand building blocks and knock-offs building blocks
The five brands listed above are relatively well-known in China, but many are not listed. How do you judge the Chinese brand building blocks and knock-off brands?
It’s very simple. Search Google for brand keywords. Is there an official website? If there is a brand-building block, if not, it’s a knock-offs brand.
China’s famous building block brands can read this article:Cheap LEGO Alternatives: 6 famous China Building Blocks Brand recommend
5. knock-offs VS LEGO
The so-called knock-offs are to copy exactly, that is, to go to the supermarket to buy a set of Lego back, and then take it home and produce it in that way without any own creativity. In short: Except for quality and brand, everything else is exactly the same as LEGO.
6. Purchase suggestions
As a webmaster of LEGO Alternatives, my suggestions are:
Since Lego has a long history and good quality assurance, if you don’t care about the price, please buy genuine LEGO.
If you just want for fun, or if Lego is too expensive for you, you can try knock-offs brand.