HONG KONG, China (AVING Special Report on 'Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2007') -- <Visual News> Hong Kong is taking its toys to promising new playgrounds, a development that is essential to the industry's future, according to Mr. Fred Lam, executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).
"Diversity is the catchword to success in the toy market," said Mr. Lam, who, along with Hong Kong Executive Council member Mr. Henry Fan Hung-ling, officiated at the opening ceremony today for the 33rd Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair. "Hong Kong toy suppliers will need to work even harder to diversify into new markets and new products," Mr. Lam added.
The toy fair's continuing success suggests that they're doing just that. The biggest of its kind in Asia, and second largest in the world, the fair this year has attracted 1,970 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions to its Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre venue.
(Picture: Left - Mr. Jeffrey Lam, chairman of the TDC's Toys Industry Advisory Committee / Right - Mr. Henry Fan, executive council member)
Among those attending are some 3,100 VIPs from 81 buying missions organized by the TDC. These include senior representatives from Euro Disneyland, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart, Hamleys, Woolworths and other major buyers.
Notably, 12 of the missions are from Chinese mainland and five from Eastern Europe. Together, they represent a significant piece of the market ‘diversity’ called for by Mr Lam. While Hong Kong toy sales to mature markets are generally slowing, exports to the Chinese mainland leaped by 84 per cent in the first 11 months of 2006. Exports to Eastern and Central European countries also soared, with Russia up 28 per cent, Poland up 32 per cent and the Czech Republic up 60 per cent over the previous year.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Jeffrey Lam, chairman of the TDC's Toys Advisory Committee, said Hong Kong is also expanding the range of toys it produces and has developed a good market for its educational and electronic toys. "We have a particularly vibrant video games sector. Related products, including smart toys and web-compatible toys, offer opportunities for the future" he added.
The Toys & Games Fair, which continues through January 11, showcases a vast range of toys and games in seven theme zones: Baby Toys and Products, Hobby Goods, Outdoor and Sporting Items, Magic, Candy Toys, Paper Toys and, debuting this year, Story Books. Buyers can also find electronic and mechanical toys, action figures, educational toys and games, soft toys and dolls, toy parts and accessories and party items at the fair.
As well, a series of topical seminars are being held during the fair. These range from educational and environmental product trends to the latest international regulations and safety standards.
Running concurrently with the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair is the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair 2007, which is jointly organized by the TDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. Last year's show attracted nearly 15,000 visitors from 120 countries and regions. This year, more than 260 exhibitors from 15 countries and regions, including three newcomers - India, Japan and the UK - are participating in the 2007 fair, which has been held for seven consecutive years.
This year's show has two new attractions, a Paper and Printing Products Zone and an Office Supplies Zone. The Paper and Printing Products Zone features 13 companies exhibiting a variety of stationery items such as envelopes, diaries, organizers, labels, calendars, paper bags, gift boxes, wrapping paper, greeting cards, and printing inks. The Office Supplies Zone groups together five companies showcasing their office stationery products, including laminating machines, binding machines, whiteboards, bank note counters, and paper shredders, etc.
An added benefit for both exhibitors and visitors is this year's seminar program. A presentation on color trends for the next season, by Nippon Color & Design Research Institute, Japan, and an informative presentation on Intellectual Property Rights by law firm DLA Piper has been organized and will be held on January 9.
< AVING Special Report Team for 'Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2007'; Sophia Kwag, Annie Park >