BizTalk: Lego, redefining the business of play
CGTN BizTalk

The Danish toymaker Lego is redefining the business of play and is trying to use creativity to drive growth. This week, BizTalk caught up with Lego Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen.

A city, an aquarium, a tree of life. It seems the Lego brick can be used to build almost anything. The Lego toy brand was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Billund, Denmark. Lego now attracts millions of fans from toddlers to adults.

CGTN's Cheng Lei (R) plays with Lego bricks with Lego Group's CEO Niels B. Christiansen (L) in Lego's headquarters in Billund, Denmark. /CGTN Photo

CGTN's Cheng Lei (R) plays with Lego bricks with Lego Group's CEO Niels B. Christiansen (L) in Lego's headquarters in Billund, Denmark. /CGTN Photo

Award-winning musician Mark Ronson sees the parallels between playing with Lego and creating music. "There is something really tangible about building it together at your hands. It is the same thing with when I make music. You are building something from nothing," he said.

And David Aguilar, a 21-year-old bioengineering student, started building Lego prosthetic arms when he was nine. Aguilar introduced his forth model to CGTN. "This is my fourth model. It's kind of difficult to configure the piece and position it with the joint, and how I want the arm to move." But pushing a button on the arm, he managed to move the robotic arm he fashioned out of Lego bricks.  

The legion of creative Lego fans makes the company stand out in the industry. But at a time when global toy sales are slipping, down two percent in 2018, smart toys are outpacing traditional toys and toy retail is going through a sea of change, can Lego keep its lead?

"We are doing very well financially. We believe it's the right time to also lay the foundation for the future," the CEO said, adding that "some of the investments we made right now are not paying off this year. But they pay off in the longer term."

China is a focus for Lego. 18 new stores are in the pipeline this year, which will bring the total number of Lego stores in China to 140. On top of that, new stores in Sydney and Amsterdam are just part of 70 around the world that are opening this year. That stacks up 600 Lego stores around the world. 

"China is a good example. In China, you would still find a lot of kids that haven't got to know Lego yet, has not gotten to the Lego Universe… It's not only building stores but it is also building e-commerce. It's working with partners and being in a lot of channels," the CEO said.

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

BizTalk is a 30-minute business interview show that airs Saturdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. BJT and rebroadcasts throughout the weekend. The show is also posted on social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

Tune in the full episode on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. BJT.