Review of Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2018, China

The 44th Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, together with Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, concluded successfully from January 6 to 9. The four shows featuring more than 2,940 exhibitors from around the world, and attracted around 126,000 buyers, more than 49,000 buyers went to the Toys & Games Fair. The HKTDC continue to provide an international trade and exchange platform for industry professionals to generate more business opportunities for all.

The three fairs have achieved satisfactory results. This year’s Toys & Games Fair, Baby Products Fair and Stationery Fair featured an assortment of new products, designs and educational toys, as well as smart baby products and creative and eco-friendly stationery to cater to the buyers’ different needs.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has organised more than 120 buying missions from 65 countries and regions, inviting some 9,000 buyers from about 6,200 companies to visit and source at the three fairs. They include department stores, specialty stores and retail chains such as Toys”R”Us, Hamleys from the United Kingdom, Tomy and Aeon from Japan, Reliance Group from India, as well as e-tailers, including Walmart E-commerce and from the Chinese mainland, and local enterprises such as AS Watsons Group and Ocean Park.

The three fairs present a diverse lineup of innovative products, including educational toys that inspire fun learning, toys and baby products that incorporate smart technologies, as well as eco-friendly stationery items that showcase creative designs, meeting the various sourcing needs of global buyers.

The world of toys can provide endless opportunities for children to learn and raise their potentiality, provided they have the right toys. The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair carries an abundance of increasingly popular STREAM toys, which develop a range of skills in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics. Be sure to check out the latest in trendsetting smart-tech toys and games including AR, VR, MR and mobile apps that take the game of early childhood development to a whole new level.

In a tech-savvy era, a lot of the toy companies continue to be innovative by incorporating up-to-date technologies into the latest toy products. In particular, there is a surge in augmented reality (AR) toys that brings users unusual gaming experiences.

Major trends on the toy industry, first was Chinese mainland will be the world’s top toy consumer market by 2022, another trend was the implication of self-driving car on the toy industry, portable games and toys such as board games, scrabble, puzzles and soft toys, which are easy to play and good for kids, have big market potential. Generation Z (born in or after 2000) comprise the largest generation in the United States, and is comfortable with online shopping and social media platforms.

Due to the growth of online shopping, an oversupply of stores will cause new competition. When e-commerce makes the industry cycle faster, industry players should ensure their products go to the right sales channel. Closer relationship between suppliers and retailers should be established when small inventory, quick turnaround and speedy delivery are expected.

Helping children learn about science, technology, engineering and math in response to today’s tech-centric world, STEM toys has been a key industry trend that has recently expanded to STEAM, which incorporates art. Educators integrate STEAM toy design with STEM, waking up kid’s creative thinking and problem-solving skills is STEAM-based, which has been used a lot in art projects. STEAM thinking is using kids’ imagination help think what they want to create, then plan to execute and sketch with the STEM toys.

Educators play an important role in introducing STEM or STEAM tools into the curriculum. Kids should be allowed to play, create the world they narrate, educators should take advantage of new technology to make learning fun. The job landscape is changing.In the future people can use robots to quickly learn mathematics or they can make stop-motion films by using the mobile app, this type curriculum are preparing kids for jobs that may not exist in the future, allowed kids to develop skills for the future job market.

Learning to learn is the key thing. STEM or STEAM toys help to keep children engaged in learning, Let kids decide. Keep things simple and let them play because these are what kids need. In order to make effective STEM or STEAM toys, making the toy fun in itself is essential. More and more jobs are collaborative in nature, which makes preparing kids to develop collaboration and socialisation skills crucial.

The 44th edition of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair features 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries and regions, with new exhibitors from Estonia, Russia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, making it the largest event of its kind in Asia, and the second-largest in the world.

Six group pavilions, including the Chinese mainland, Chinese Taiwan, Korea, Spain, and the UK, are showcasing the latest toys and games from around the world. The “World of Toys” pavilion, featuring mainly European exhibitors, returns for the 10th consecutive year.

A fair highlight, the Brand Name Gallery features more than 240 renowned brands from 18 countries and regions, including 4M, Eastcolight, Hape, MiNG The Minibus, SOAP STUDIO and WELLY.

This year’s Smart-Tech Toys zone gathers a myriad of innovative toys and games that incorporate the latest AR/VR/MR technologies, as well as mobile applications. To respond to growing demand for STEAM and STREAM educational toys, a STEAM Toys Product Display has been set up to draw buyers’ attention.

Other special zones include Kidult World, showcasing toys for grown-ups such as magic items, hobby goods, action & war game items, and models & figurines; the Pet Toys zone, featuring toys and daily supplies for pets; and the Fireworks zone, which returns from its successful debut last year with a diverse range of pyrotechnic products, such as toy fireworks, stage fireworks, party fireworks and festive firecrackers suitable for use in different events.

Playable Creation Limited (Booth no. : 1C-F34) from Hong Kong present ARcher-The Hunter, an AR gaming embedded in a bow-shaped toy. Download the mobile application with a smartphone and place it on the bow, player can turn around with the bow to explore the realistic game environment brought by AR technology. By turning around and pulling strings on the arrow, the players can challenge different levels of the game. The connection of “AR+Game+Toy” allows players totally immerse themselves into the exciting archery game anywhere.

Apart from athletic-inclined toys, there are also smart-tech toys that cultivate users’ creativity, like the AR Fashion Designer brought by Joy Aether Limited (Booth no.: 1C-D08) from Hong Kong. Users can design dresses on drawing sheets provided and transform them from 2D format to 3D versions with the mobile application. In the application, users can dress models with their designs, share their designs to social media and receive likes and comment from the public. With just imaginary power and require no professional skills, users can have a taste of being a designer with this game. Toys of many categories, e.g. dolls, stuffed toys, can join the AR Fashion Designer platform to add infinite possibilities to those toys.

The growing advocacy of STREAM education, which emphasizes the importance of instilling kids knowledge of ‘Science’, ‘Technology’, ‘Robotics’, ‘Engineering’, ‘Arts’, and ‘Mathematics’, has driven the blossom of educational toys that inspire kids in these perspectives with the process of playing.

European Education All Group (Hong Kong) Holding Limited (Booth no.: 1E –D14) present the OPTIKO, a gaming box contained 23 interesting lighting experiments. With different combination of the wooden components, kids can learn the science of light and its characteristics in a playful way.

From Indonesia PT Octagon Studio Indonesia (Booth no.: 1C-E34), the Humanoid 4D+ Augmented Reality Kit is an augmented reality application designed to provide colour and interactive depiction of human body. With its interactive functions, children can better grasp the body structure and discover how different body systems work.

During the Fairs, multiple thematic seminars, talks and a large-scale conference were held to facilitate industry exchange. Events included the Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference 2018, where global industry experts examined such topics as the future development of toys retailing, the opportunities brought by e-commerce, big data applications and toys licensing.

A series of special events be held throughout the fair period to facilitate market information exchange among industry players. This year’s Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference under the theme “Evolving with the industry: Hot Trends in Toys Industry,” where participants address hot-button issues in the toy sector. Representative from Amazon discuss business opportunities arising from the development of global e-commerce, while a representative from British toy retail giant Hamleys’ offer insights into the future development of the retail toy market. Representative from the United States’ toy industry online media and international advisory body focus on global industry trends in the next five years. Other topics include using big data to formulate market strategies and licensing issues.

To encourage suppliers to leverage online-to-offline (O2O) promotional opportunities, the HKTDC has enhanced the sourcing function of its trade fair websites by launching the new year-round “Exhibitions Online” platform at the Toys & Games and Baby Products fairs. In addition to featuring fair updates and the latest industry sourcing information, the platform allows suppliers to connect with global buyers anytime and buyers to source industry-specific products from dedicated fair websites.

Hong Kong Toys and Baby Products Awards
To highlight toys and baby products of superb design, innovation and quality, the Hong Kong Toys and Baby Products Awards be launched again in 2018. Judging is based on innovation, functionally and safety, marketability as well as environmental friendliness. The results be announced during fair period with awarded entries on display.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels.