The year opened with a flurry of activity for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) as the first events held after the reopening of the border with Mainland China and easing of COVID-19 restrictions on overseas travel drew heavy traffic.
Buyers and exhibitors seized opportunities at the child-focused fairs – the 49th HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, 14th HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the 21st Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair. The events drew more than 21,000 buyers from about 100 countries and regions who participated physically and online. More than 12,200 buyers attended the fairs in-person.
Non-local buyers travelled from near and far to join the physical fairs, including Mainland China, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. European buyers came from, amongst others, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom, while buyers from the Middle East and Brazil, Chile and the United States also took part.
The physical part of the fairs ran from 9 to 12 January but exhibitors and buyers can continue to connect online until 19 January. The EXHIBITION+ model, which includes virtual access facilitated by the HKTDC’s smart business matching platform Click2Match, connects exhibitors and buyers online. As of Thursday, the HKTDC had arranged more than 1,000 business meeting sessions.
HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Sophia Chong said: “The HKTDC has promoted the fairs in the past few months, and actively invited quality exhibitors and buyers from around the world to participate in-person. Following the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the mainland and Hong Kong, we are happy to see buyers from Mainland China, ASEAN and the wider Asia region, Europe and the Americas travel to Hong Kong for the fairs. Business travel in Hong Kong is gradually returning to normal, with industry being more optimistic about the future. This is welcome news for our upcoming fairs.”
This year’s fairs featured an assortment of new products from more than 1,000 exhibitors. A long-term supporter of the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, Eastcolight (Hong Kong) Limited, introduced augmented reality (AR) educational toys at the event. Co-founder Salley Sze said: “It is exciting to see that global buyers are back in Hong Kong this year. We have met with overseas buyers from Brazil, France, Israel, Italy, Russia and Turkey who are very interested in our products. We are confident in the fair’s business results.”
Xiamen Baby Pretty Products Co., Ltd has participated in the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair since 2009, helping expand their export business over the years. CEO Sam Yang appreciated the quality of buyers this year and revealed that his company had met 80 to 90 new buyers from Southeast Asia and Turkey. Existing customers have confirmed US$2 million worth of orders, they have also received on-site orders worth US$200,000-300,000 from four new buyers.
Malwina Jaworska, Acting Director of Product Development Department of 4Kraft Sp. z o.o., a baby products company in Poland, said: “Through the HKTDC’s Click2Match smart business matching platform, we have found a new supplier from Hong Kong who can provide quality strollers with nice designs. We plan to buy US$850,000 worth of strollers from them. We have also reserved a budget of US$7 million for buying baby beds and high chairs at the fair.”
Sales manager Scott Wen of Mirage International Industries, a US exhibitor at the Stationery & School Supplies Fair is satisfied with results. “It’s clear that industry players are eager to get back to in-person business. We have had inquiries from Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the USA, the Philippines, France, Germany, Hong Kong, and even the Middle East and India.”
At the flagship Hong Kong Toy Industry Conference 2023 on 10 January, key toy industry trends were unveiled by speaker Mr Clifton Chiu, Research Analyst of Toys and Games of Euromonitor International.
He noted that the rise of scientific educational and kidult toys and the impact of sustainability would be in the spotlight. Mr Chiu added that scientific educational toys were perfect products for families looking to mix education and entertainment for their children during the pandemic with limited outdoor activities and schooling. Also, kidults – mainly young professionals – are willing to spend disposable income on collectible toys and blind boxes that let them relive their childhood.
Another key trend is sustainability, many big players have adapted manufacturing and packaging methods in accordance with the sustainability concerns of consumers. The Toys & Games Fair had themed zones, such as Smart-Tech Toys and Kidult World, together with a special Green Toys label introduced this year, to help buyers identify and source the popular product categories in the industry. For more comments from exhibitors and buyers, please visit the following websites:
HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair
HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair
Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair