Smartphone-related Toys at HKG Toy Fair
    2013-01-11 13:34:58         Web Editor: Wang Wei

A whole host of toys from plush hippos to remote-controlled helicopters and even mobile phone app-operated toys are on show at Asia's largest toy fair. One thing is certain at the toy fair in Hong Kong; the games are getting smarter.

Zhang Wan takes a closer look.


The fair has attracted about 1,900 exhibitors from 41 countries and regions, and this year includes first-time participants from Iran.

Although the fair is still dominated by the traditional toys such as dolls, model cars and plastic toys, smartphone-related toys are under the spotlight at this year's event.

A toy tank controlled by a smartphone is attracting a lot of attention at the 39th Toys and Games Fair in Hong Kong. To stage a battle with the vehicles you need to download the correct app from iTunes, charge up your tanks and then let the fun begin.

Kevin Mak, the CEO of Maksco Toy Ltd., is playing with a smartphone attached to a toy gaming gun. With the help of the phone's built-in camera, the game allows players to shoot aliens in a "real-world" environment.

Mak says his company is working hard to combine new technologies with traditional toys.

"Of course, we see the potential of augmented-reality, and we thought this technology would enhance the playing level or enhance the game of the toy. So, we thought, you know, we want to put this all together into this AR (augmented-reality) gun."

Mak says he has noticed more games and toys featuring smartphones being designed.

"One of the reasons is the smartphone is getting very popular, and apps (application) are almost free for everybody. So, the penetration of using smartphones and apps is becoming like a trend."

Allen Cheng, the marketing manager of Zhongshan Subor Educational Electronics, is playing an interactive video game produced by his company, which allows users to play sports games at home. Cheng says he believes the product will be very popular in China.

"We think our game will do better in China because now everybody is working hard, so need to do sports. So everybody has no time, just go back home to do the sports. This is why our game will be better selling in the mainland market."

Daniel Poon is principal economist from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. He says technology will influence many toys in the future.

"Right now, the global macro trend is to integrate the technology and electronics with the toys in order to explore more playing possibilities."

According to figures from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, from January 2012 to November 2012, toys exported from Hong Kong dropped almost seven percent while toys exported to European markets dropped 29 percent compared to the same period in 2011. Here is Poon again.

"In the year 2013, I think it will be a better year for our toys exports. Right now, we are seeing some signs of bottoming out of the Chinese economy. The U.S. economy is also doing better because of the improving housing market and employment. And then, the European debt crisis has also stabilized a bit. So, this year will be a better year for our toy exports."

Poon says emerging markets such as Russia, India and Brazil will see better performance in 2013 because of the growing middle classes there and increased domestic demand for toys.

Lillian Fung, toy buyer from Brazil, says the toy market in Brazil is improving all the time.

"I think purchasing power in Brazil is quite good. It is better than it is in other countries. I know because I live there. Brazilians will not have to apply for a visa to go shopping in America soon because of their purchasing power."

The toy fair runs from January 7th to January 10th.

For CRI, I am Zhang Wan.


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