The toilet seats produced by a domestic company in China's Southwestern Guizhou province have become popular in Europe and US.
On online shopping platform Amazon.com, a Topseat toilet seat was selling from $35 to $70. The buyers did not hold themselves back while praising the products in the reviews. Some commented the toilet seat was durable and well detailed. Some others said that none of the toilet seats they purchased were this good.
Even a US talk-show set eyes on this Made-in-China brand and introduced one of the best-selling Topseat toilet seats to its audience as one of the high-tech gizmos for home.
NBC's Today Show compared a traditional toilet seat both adults and children use to a Topseat toilet seat with the same function. The Topseat won the "contest" with ease due to its novelty and convenience.
According to Guizhou local media, the sale volume has reached as many as 10,000 per month.
Topseat toilet seats are produced by a low-profile local company in Guizhou's Anshun, a sanitary ware producer founded in 2012. The data from the official website of Guizhou government shows that, at present, the company produces 1.2 million sets of toilets seat annually which are all for export. Out of the annual output, 80 per cent are exported to Germany and Switzerland and 20 per cent to other countries including US, France, UK and South Africa.
Guizhou City News reported that Topseat's market share in US is about 2 per cent and about 80 per cent in Germany. According to Wu Chengdong, the chairman of Topseat Company, Topseat's share in EU and US market is much more than that of other Asian countries.
The popularity of Topseat comes from good reasons.
The raw material Topseat uses to produce wooden toilet seats is from the bamboo forests in Guizhou's Chishui. The bamboo material is eco-friendly, which is a feature that European consumers attach much importance.
"People in European countries are very much concerned about the climate change. We use recycled material, so they prefer to buy our products," Wu said.
With the sales rising, Topseat is striving to develop more kinds of natural materials. Wu said they will make toilet seat with rice straw that is more eco-friendly in the future.
Besides being eco-friendly, Topseat's another key is the spirit of innovation.
Topseat has more than 5,000 pattern designs, with various images on the toilet seats. There are even designs with relief sculptures and 3D effects. The customised design patterns are well-received in European markets and a German customer said that German people are very open to new things and the visitors to his home are impressed by the beautiful design.
However, the Americans who focus more on practicability are not fond of beautiful designs. Therefore, Topseat changes its productive strategy and invests more energy to improve products' functions.
The toilet seat for both adult and children favoured by Today Show is just an example. Topseat innovatively uses magnet to fasten the big circle and the small circle, which is more convenient to use. This toilet seat earned Topseat a net profit of 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) once it went on the market.
Topseat has set up branch and sale office in US and more than 200,000 sets of Topseat products are bought by US families annually.
Despite the success at the moment, the company is prepared to tap more international market with more innovative ideas and products.