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Thursday, January 12, 2017
Monday, July 7, 2008

In the end it was a nagging feeling that the eyes had lost their iconic, melancholy look made German manufacturer Steiff realise that if you want top-quality teddy bears, China might not be your best bet.

Before that it was the three-month wait for 80,000 cuddly white polar bears just as "Knut," Berlin zoo's real life star, was gracing the cover of Vanity Fair and demand was exploding.

For the soft toy firm, which started life in the late 18th century with a wheelchair-bound woman making elephant-shaped pincushions, trying to produce teddy bears in China was no picnic.

In an effort to cut costs Steiff began outsourcing production to Chinese factories in 2004, and even sent 300 workers there to make sure the bears were up to scratch.

But this week Steiff called time on its Chinese adventure.

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