Perfect playground for products

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 2010, 12:00am

Visitors to the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair are guaranteed a fun-filled time. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai has been transformed into a massive playground.

Exhibitors from around the world will showcase their products that range from educational, electronic and battery-operated toys and games to outdoor, sporting and hobby goods.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council (HKTDC), the fair opens today and runs until Thursday. There are about 2,000 exhibitors from 37 countries, with a new Indian pavilion.

'As Asia's largest fair of its kind and the first toy fair in 2010, the 36th edition of the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair is the acknowledged platform for buyers to source for new merchandise and for exhibitors to launch their latest collections,' a HKTDC spokesman says.

The toys fair has secured eight group pavilions from the mainland, India, Italy, South Korea, Pakistan, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand. And, for a truly international perspective, the World of Toys Pavilion, jointly organised by the HKTDC and Spielwarenmesse eG, organiser of the largest toy fair in the world, makes its second appearance creating a bridge for business relations for top-end industry leading companies worldwide.

New zones have been added - Brand Name Gallery and Video Game Zone - providing an even wider selection of toys and games for children of all ages. Aside from providing the latest toy designs, the fair also introduces a new Testing and Certification Services Zone in which testing laboratories offer updated and internationally recognised inspection and verification services on different products.

Exhibitors say the fair will give them an advantage in building long-term business relationships and exploring market opportunities for their educational, digital and electronic products.

'The fair has its ranking as the second largest in the world, that's why we have been actively participating in this platform for 17 years to access different buyers and business opportunities in new markets,' says Salley Sze, vice-president and general manager of Eastcolight, a local manufacturer of scientific educational toys such as microscopes, binoculars and telescopes. 'Moreover, Hong Kong has the leading role as the international business hub for product sourcing.'

As one of the biggest exhibitors, Sze's team is committed in meeting the market needs by introducing 30 new products to go with 350 educational toys. An advanced LCD digital microscope, called Dr Mike, and eco-products, such as Eco-Aquarium, Paper Recycling Mini Factory and Solar Merry-go-round, are some of their latest collections.

Dr Mike has features found in professional laboratory microscopes: a two-inch thin-film transistor colour LC, highly developed optical glass lenses, 1.2 megapixel resolution, an SD memory card slot, plus a port to connect to a computer or television for viewing images in larger screen and high-definition.

The eco-products aim to increase children's awareness of environmental issues by introducing the concept of using solar and wind energy to generate mechanical power or electricity for various units. The paper recycling mini factory provides essential tools and tips for making the 'best recycled paper' and highlights the importance of environmental protection, Sze says.

Nu Look IPI Enterprise also combines fun and education with the launch of their Crime Scene Investigation kit, along with a range of telescopes and eco-friendly technologies. 'Hong Kong provides a good shopping location and we are there not only to expand, advertise and expose our products but also to provide a one-stop shopping environment for customers - turn their ideas to real products,' says marketing director Pearl Tam Kok-po.

Eddie So, marketing development manager of Welly Die Casting, manufacturer of die-cast model cars and also a major exhibitor, says the fair is like a social gathering for everyone. 'It offers the best chance for new and old clients to get together, join us at our booths and check out our new products.'

The company wants a wider reach on the mainland and to penetrate developing markets in the Middle East and South America.

Apart from product demonstrations and joint networking reception, Hong Kong Toy Industry Conference 2010 and seminars will be staged, highlighting the importance of toy safety and changes in safety standards, and with industry trends.

Exhibitors, such as Gealex Toys, say this will be helpful for local industrial companies in handling external environment changes such as cost increases and the new US and European safety standard, as they need guidance on how to handle such changes.

The fair attracted nearly 30,000 visitors last year and, with the market picking up, first-time exhibitors are hopeful of securing connections in the Asian market through Hong Kong.

Yummy Dough, produced by Germany's 123 Naehrmittel GmbH, is the world's first edible play-dough. This will be its first appearance in Asia after successful launches in Europe and North America.

'We feel the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair 2010 is a great platform to present Yummy Dough to customers in Asia, and all kids in the region. It offers all the benefits of traditional play-dough except kids can bake and eat them too afterwards,' said Tom Gasch, brand ambassador and Southeast Asia sales manager of Yummy Dough.

Although the company has not been affected by the economic crisis, he says that they forecast increasing pressure on various industries which will affect the global toy industry. However, the special positioning of the product will guarantee market growth.

'Kids don't worry about economy or politics,' Gasch says. 'They play and eat, that's their natural habit. This is an educational toy and it fits perfectly into the trend of creative teaching elements found in toys today and we believe toy products such as Yummy Dough will be able to maintain growth in a challenging environment.'

Running concurrently with the toys fair are the 8th HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show, the 10th Hong Kong International Stationery Fair and the inaugural HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair. The stationery fair showcases office supplies and back-to-school products of more than 240 exhibitors from 10 countries and regions. The licensing show gathers more than 300 properties and brands by 140 exhibitors, such as Warner Bros, Dreamworks, Spider-Man, Transformers, McDull and Forever Friends.