'Smart toys' point the way to the future

Relaxnews
Sunday 23 January 2011 01:00
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From Angry Birds to kid's bikes, the 38th Hong Kong Toy Fair closed with record number in attendance and claims that the international toy industry was back on its feet after the hard times experienced during the international financial crisis.

According to event organizers, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, more than 34,000 buyers attended this year's fair - the largest of its kind in Asia and second only in the world to the annual Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair held in Nuremberg, Germany, in February.

There was of course plenty of attention given to the actual toys and games themselves, chief among them the best-selling iPhone game "Angry Birds" and the plush toys developed from the game's various characters. Designers Commonwealth Toys said it had picked up orders for half a million of the toys.

And buyers were impressed with the developments in the industry they saw.

"With the recovering world economy, there is once again a demand for smarter toys that are slightly more expensive,'' Brazilian buy Alain Santos told Hong Kong's "The Standard' newspaper.

Organisers said the fair reflected changes in the toy and games industry globally in that the trend this year was on "developing more practical, educational, safe and environmentally-friendly products."

That included an expanded section for children's toys which included traditional items such as bikes as well as electronic learning aids.

"We had more buyers from the United States and Europe, while turnout from such emerging markets as India, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam, Russia and Turkey recorded double digit growth," HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau told the organisation's website ( http://www.hktdc.com).

He said the majority of visitors came from mainland China - the largest toy-producing market in the world - and that "confidence is returning after the recent global economic turmoil."

For the HKTDC's website from Toys & Games Fair, log on to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7bKqvm6aK4

MS

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