31 March 2004
Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2004(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2004)
Guests and officials attended a joyous occasion celebrating 30 years of service to the industry by the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. The guest of honour was (left) John Tsang, secretary for commerce, industry and technology, who is seen here with TDC executive director (designate) Frederick Lam
It was a 30th birthday bash that brought happiness and prosperity to the many thousands who came from across the globe to participate.
An added bonus was that buyers bought up and placed orders, guaranteeing enjoyment to tens of millions of children for at least the next 12 months.
The big event was the 30th staging of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, from January 6-9. The event showcased the latest products of 1,807 exhibitors (757 from overseas) and attracted 25,785 keen-eyed buyers almost evenly split between overseas and locals (12,853 to 12,932 respectively).
Like all good parties, it began in a festive atmosphere, and happily this spirit continued throughout the four days. Of course, there was a magnificent cake - the centrepiece of the celebrations at a TDC-hosted race-night at Happy Valley Racecourse, where 300 guests not only shared the cake but many also enjoyed a slice of luck on the horses.
In his welcoming speech, TDC director of exhibitions Benjamin Chau stressed the invaluable role Hong Kong continues to play in international trade. "As the [Chinese] mainland continues to open up, so more people will use Hong Kong as their marketplace for business in the region," he emphasised.
TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick supplemented later: "It was a birthday bash with something for everybody ... both exhibitors and trade visitors were happy with the seemingly unlimited cornucopia of exciting toys and novelty items on display, and the profitable deals they struck."
According to Chick, there was also a splendid response to this year's add-ons such as the Hong Kong Services Pavilion, the Bicycle Section - spiced up by some dazzling cycling performances by skilful young daredevils on wheels - and the opening of more new booths for exhibitors.
"There was also a highly favourable response to the Hobby Goods Section which made its debut last year, while another of our newer features, the seminar segment, provided a wealth of insightful and invaluable advice plus a series of 'golden' tips on better ways of doing business generally and, more specifically, how to break into the mainland market," Chick said.
"However, the most important point of all is that the success of the event vividly confirmed that Hong Kong is truly back in business - and that it means business when it comes to toys," she added.
"The fair further consolidated its position as the largest of its kind in Asia and the third biggest in the world - and is looking to become number two sooner rather than later," she forecasted.
WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Buyers Equally Buoyant
The 30th staging of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair also saw many satisfied buyers and sellers. For example, Andrew R. Gatto, senior vice-president, product development and imports, Toys "R" Us said: "Hong Kong has grown increasingly important to our discovery of unique content and good value. The type of content here is better, the environment of the fair has improved and Hong Kong is one of our more important sources."
According to Miho Asakura, chief of the president's office of JUN Planning Co Inc, "The Hong Kong Toy Fair is one of the biggest, not just in Asia but worldwide, and is a good opportunity to introduce our newest product, the Pullip doll, to buyers from around the world."
Also praising the fair was Michael Wall, managing director, Hobbyco Imports Pty Ltd, of Australia. "I have been very impressed with the standards of the exhibitors," he said. "I would recommend this fair to other Australian buyers - cost-wise and time-wise it is more convenient than visiting Europe or North America."
Meanwhile, Phillip Fung, administrative director of Kentoys Ltd, which displayed various enticing diecast models, RC toys, playsets and ODM/OEM items, said: "Not only do we have more space and a beautiful location, it is now more convenient for buyers - so everyone benefits."
Marketing specialist Vincent Kuo of Thunder Tiger Corp of Taiwan added: "We are planning to introduce hobby products to the mass market and the fair is very suitable for this."
Tamio Watabiki, executive corporate officer of Takara Co of Tokyo, and a regular for the past 10 years, said: "I keep coming back because it's a good sourcing platform. Business is picking up and we've landed a few on-going products." He rated the infrared control flying saucer the top new toy of the fair.
Les D. Vargerson, chairman, Agenta Marketing Ltd, UK, said: "Well worth the visit, and I'll be back next year."
According to Lidia Bujwicka-Nowak, trading director of Poland's non-food buying department, Tesco: "We have our agent in Hong Kong to check on all stages of manufacture. A lot of branded products are made in the region but that does not mean cheap and nasty."
It is not surprising, then, that the popularity of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair continues to grow. Indeed some highly interesting demographics indicate the toy market is still expanding worldwide. Compared with the previous fair, for example, significant increases were recorded in the numbers of visitors from many parts of the world, including Europe (up 5.44 %), Australia/Pacific Islands (up 23.32 %) and the Middle East (up 24.11%).
Fortunately, the advice of specialists who made pertinent comments at the 2004 fair's seminar - such as Lin Gang, sales director of Guangzhou Toys and Wonder Ltd, and Gary Hoiem, director of international brand management and merchandise services for Toys "R" Us - can still be viewed in a webcast available at http://hktoyfair.com/previous/seminar2.htm.
BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
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