PLAYERS IN the toy industry will have an opportunity to discuss business with their internationally known plcounterparts at the Hong Kong Toy Conference 2005 today. The speakers include the chiefs of two toy giants: Alan Hassenfeld, chairman and CEO of United States-based Hasbro, and Kantaro Tomiyama, president and CEO of Japanese toy company Tomy. Hasbro, which produces G.I. Joe and the classic board game Monopoly, was set up by Mr Hassenfeld's grandfather, Henry Hassenfeld, in 1923. Mr Hassenfeld took the helm in 1989. NYSE Magazine described him as a man of idiosyncratic habits (he wears rubber bands on his wrist for good luck and burns candles on conference tables at meetings) who refers to Hasbro toys as his 'children'. Under his supervision, the company has switched back to renewing its core brands, G.I. Joe and Monopoly, and depending less on licensed products. Mr Tomiyama is also the third-generation head of his toy company, which was set up in 1924 by Eiichiro Tomiyama. The firm is best known these days for its Pokemon dolls. Last year, Tomy predicted a 340 per cent increase in profits on the back of the hugely successful Micropets series - 25mm-tall pets with artificial intelligence that respond to personalised verbal instructions. Also attending the conference will be Jay Foreman, president of Play Along, Jordan Weisman, CEO of Wizkids, Loren Taylor, president of Taylored Concepts, and Robert J. Weinberg, CEO of Make Me Happy Toys. The theme of the conference will be the future direction and environment of the business. The organiser has promised attendees 'a truly global picture of the toy industry'. (The last conference, held in October, focused on technology and original design manufacturing.) For details, contact Kelly Yu at 3400 2809. For more information, visit www.ife.polyu.edu.hk/hktc .