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A Clear Winner(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 01,2007)

Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2007




Against a backdrop of general positive market sentiment, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (TDC) Toys Advisory Committee Jeffrey Lam is delighted to note that the demand for toys from mature markets such as the US and Europe remains stable.

"At the same time, India and the Chinese mainland have now joined the list of emerging markets - along with the Middle East, Russia and South America - to become new and rising stars in terms of toys expenditure," Lam adds.

The chairman also confirms that Hong Kong remains a thriving centre for the toys business. "In part, this is due to the tremendous efforts we have made to uphold intellectual property rights, and our efforts and respect for this important facet are now bearing fruit," he says.

"Furthermore," Lam continues, "our local manufacturers continue to create highly original and inventive toys and characters that add fun and colour to the world toys' scene, while licensors from outside Hong Kong are even more enthusiastic about doing business here."

Meanwhile, ebullient as ever, TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick says she looks forward to celebrating the 33rd edition of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in 2007.

"It is such an important calendar date for everyone in the toys industry and no serious player can afford to miss it," she says. "There is simply so much going on and so much to see during the four-day fair period."

In addition to more visitors cramming the halls, Chick says that the event continues to expand in scope and now covers all major industry categories, including baby toys and products, battery-operated and electronic toys, candy toys, die-cast/mechanical toys and action figures, educational toys and games, hobby goods, magic items, multiple products/general merchandise, outdoor and sporting items, party items, toys parts and accessories and soft toys and dolls.

"There are different specialty sections to help buyers source more efficiently," Chick reminds. "The 2007 edition, for example, sees the return of buyer-favourite sections such as Hobby Goods, Baby Toys & Products, Magic, Outdoor & Sporting Items, Candy Toys and Paper Toys. Meanwhile, in response to popular demand, there are two new sections: Train Sets and Story Books."

In line with consumers worldwide leading more active lifestyles, Chick mentions that the Outdoor & Sporting Items section will continue to include different theme zones for bicycles and equipment for ball games, camping, gymnasiums and water sports.

"Once again," she continues, "we have also organised an exciting seminar programme to keep audiences up-to-date on hot topics and issues. There will also be social events to enable fellow participants to exchange ideas and try to expand their business networks in a relaxed, informal setting."

The mega show will again feature a myriad of toys and games suitable for all age groups, and buyers will feast their eyes on the offerings of more than 1,900 global exhibitors - including group pavilions from the Chinese mainland, Germany, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand in addition to Hong Kong's own army of exhibitors.

The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair runs from January 8-11, 2007 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and buyers can preview exhibitor profiles and schedule appointments well in advance of the show by visiting the official website at http://hktoyfair.com.

To make January a value-added trip for buyers, the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair 2007 takes place concurrently with the toys fair at the HKCEC. On display will be writing instruments/pens, paper and paper products, office supplies, educational systems and artists' supplies/equipment all under one roof. The event will also provide an additional bonus for toys buyers also sourcing children's stationery and school supplies.

Firm Foundations

The basis for confidence in the upcoming fair lies squarely on the success recorded at the 2006 event, and the fact that Hong Kong is secure in its position as the world's second-largest exporter/re-exporter of toys.

The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2006 attracted 1,935 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions, and some 29,180 visitors flocked in from 131 countries and regions, including 63 buying missions comprising key buyers from department stores, chain stores and importers.

The comprehensive nature of the event was highly appreciated by both buyers and exhibitors. For example, J. Kärkkäinen Oy's head of department, books & papers, toys, chemicals Johanna Korri of Finland has attended for three consecutive years.

"We have two department stores in northern Finland that currently offer more than 10,000 different items. This is the most important trade show for us - it helps me study the global industry trend and plan my strategy ahead," Korri observed.

Also equally impressed was frequent visitor A.K. Abdul Khalam, general manager of Toyworld, an importer and distributor of branded toys and games based in the UAE.

"I always come here to look for new items as it is one of the biggest toys fairs in the world. The quality of the suppliers is improving and it is very well-organised," he reported.

Planning to make a third presence at the 2007 event was Mario Jorge Freirato Monte Alto, business development director of CM Artigos para Bebes Ltda of Brazil.

"Our company imports baby articles and this fair allows us to source new products and to keep an eye on the latest designs and trends," he said.

Equally anticipative of the 2007 event was exhibitor VTech Electronics Ltd, which has taken part at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair for more than a decade.

"This fair is an important platform for VTech as we are exporting worldwide and the event has a very international buyer profile," said VTech senior corporate communications manager Grace Pang.

Apart from business and meeting old and new buyers from both traditional and emerging markets, Pang pointed out that the fair acted as a launch pad for prototypes and as an essential hub to keep track of prevailing market sentiments and directions.

Clearly, buyers and sellers alike will once again be in top form for an outstanding fair in January 2007.