1 July 2001
Region's Largest Toy Fair Bolsters Industry Confidence(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 02,2001)
THERE is nothing like fun and games to lure a jovial crowd. The Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair 2001, which was held between 9-12 January at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, attracted 24,992 buyers from all over the world, according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), which organized the event.
"This year's fair featured 1,586 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions. Such strong buyer turnout confirms the fair's leading position and Hong Kong's status as an Asian trade-fair capital," said TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick.
"Notably, the number of overseas buyers rose 3.5%, with attendance from the US, our major market, increasing 5%," she added.
"Buyers from the Chinese mainland were very active (up 21%), demonstrating the vitality and new business opportunities emerging as the mainland prepares to enter the World Trade Organization [WTO]."
Asian and European markets showed promising growth signs, with respective attendance rises of 4.2% and 3.9%.
A total of 12,035 buyers came from beyond Hong Kong, accounting for 48% of all attendees. The top visiting countries and regions were Japan, the Chinese mainland, the US, Taiwan, South Korea, the UK, Thailand, Australia, France and Germany.
Among the exhibitors were nine group pavilions - from the Chinese mainland, Germany, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Macau, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand.
While creating a marketplace for new products and a venue for conducting business, the fair also provided a platform to exchange market intelligence.
Aiming to keep fair participants abreast of market information and product trends, TDC commissioned AC Nielsen to conduct an independent survey. Altogether, 708 exhibitors and 1,451 buyers were interviewed.
Exhibitors and buyers expressed optimism about business prospects. TDC Toys Advisory Committee chairman Edmund Young said, "More than 60% of the people interviewed perceive the outlook in 2001 to be better, or slightly better, than in 2000.
"The demand for competitively priced Hong Kong products will remain strong because value-for-money is the catch phrase."
Knowing the Chinese mainland's WTO accession will create a more open toy market, most exhibitors expect more sales there.
Major survey findings were as follows:
- 51% of the US buyers expect the US toy retail market will grow, though at a slower pace;
- 58% of European buyers expect the European toy retail market will grow;
- 57% of buyers expect to sell more to the Chinese mainland;
- Mainland consumers regard toys from Hong Kong manufacturers as offering good safety standards, strong designs and high quality;
- More than 60% of the interviewees expect licensed characters will remain important;
- Buyers believe the top licensed items in 2001 will be Koge, Hello Kitty, Toy Story characters, Disney characters, Pokemon, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Digimon and Sanrio characters.
In addition, most respondents believe that, although Internet retailing is rising in popularity, it will not replace traditional toy shopping. They say the Internet prompts children to spend more time on computers and enlarges market potential for electronic games and interactive toys.
Other fair attractions included a China market seminar and a China toys retail study tour to Shenzhen on the mainland. In addition, TDC joined the Hong Kong Q-Mark Council in organizing a seminar to brief toy makers on details of the International Council of Toy Industries Code of Business Practices.
As the world's largest supplier of toys, Hong Kong saw encouraging growth in exports last year, with toys to the value of HK$91.5bn being shipped.
The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, which ran concurrently with the toy show, attracted 11,764 visitors, double that of the last stationery show, which was held in 1999.
There was an across-the-board increase in visitors from all areas. Attendance from outside Hong Kong grew 170% and accounted for 42% of the total. The majority came from Japan, the Chinese mainland, the US, Taiwan and South Korea. The number of Hong Kong visitors increased 104%.
Jointly organised by TDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, the stationery fair featured more than 170 exhibitors.
Chick said the strategic relocation of the event to January proved successful. "With encouraging attendance, the fair has strengthened Hong Kong's position as the one-stop sourcing centre for all sorts of stationery."
She said juxtaposition of the event with the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair provided a synergy for traders in both industries. Earlier studies showed 25% of toy buyers were interested in stationery items.
The next Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair is scheduled for 8-11 January 2002. To encourage even more small and medium-sized firms to use the event as a cost-effective export-marketing tool, participation fees for the upcoming fair will decrease by 5-12%.
The Hong Kong International Stationery Fair evolved from the Pen & Paper show held from 1996-99. Next year, the stationery fair again will run at the same time as the toy event.
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