Global toy giant LEGO Group continued to see strong consumer sales growth in the Chinese market in the first half of this year and expects the good momentum to sustain over the country’s rising demand for learning through play, Xinhua reported.

China, a strategic growth market for the Denmark-based firm, continued double-digit growth in consumer sales in H1. LEGO Group’s global consumer sales grew 5%  over a year ago, while its revenue expanded 4% year on year, according to the company’s H1 financial results.

“We are very pleased to see the developments in China,” said LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen, who attributed the steady market growth to the company’s enhanced investment in building the brand in the country both online and offline.

The company opened its 100th retail brand store in July in Xi’an City, its first certified store in northwest China, in a move to expand footprint in the country’s inland and lower-tier cities, the report said.

LEGO Group will continue to invest in China and is on track to have more than 140 stores in 35 cities by the end of 2019, according to Christiansen.

The company has also strengthened e-commerce partnerships and worked with Tencent to soft-launch the mobile game LEGO Cube to adapt to China’s advanced digitalization.

“Just think about the number of cities and population in China. The market potential is huge,” said Paul Huang, senior vice president of LEGO Group and general manager of LEGO China. “We are confident in continuing to grow in China.”

After winning several cases against copycat firms in recent years, the company is appreciative of Chinese authorities’ continuous efforts to protect intellectual property and offer a level playing field for all market players, Christiansen said.

The company was one of the first batches of foreign firms to sign up for November’s second China International Import Expo (CIIE), the report said.

“We were impressed with the first CIIE’s size, participation, and the attention paid to the event,” Christiansen said. “I will be there again and we look forward to more contributions and cooperation.”