From 08 – 10 April, the Toy and Baby Fair invites you to China. Why the topic of licenses is particularly important for the trade tells Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt in conversation with Luna Journal.

What is the focus of this year’s Guangzhou Toy & Hobby China? What will be special about your concept this year?

Animation and Character Licensing Zone will be our highlight of this year’s show. Although this is not our first year introducing the featured zone, we believe it will gain more and more popularity. The fact that the Chinese licensing market has been growing significantly with retail sales of related products reaching USD 8.1 billion in 2016 reveals strong demand for licensing prodcuts. As such, Animation and Character Licensing Zone will serve as a platform for licensors, licensees and licensed product manufacturers to connect with each other. Twenty-four exhibitors including Tencent Games, Mighty Media, Semk, Pop!, Fantawild Animation, Guangzhou Riosen and Pierrot China have already confirmed to showcase nearly 70 brands such as Ultraman, Naruto, Thomas & Friends, Marvel, Boonie Bears and GG Bond in the April show.

Apart from that, we can see stronger international participation in the fair. Given the growing demand for quality products in China, many overseas suppliers see big potential to develop the market and decided to participate in our fair. On the other hand, industry players from around the world are also fascinated by the innovative and competitive products made by Chinese companies. Hence, we expect to welcome more foreign buyers this year.

How does Guangzhou Toy & Hobby China differ from other fairs of this size?

First of all, it is the largest show in Southern China including Guangdong Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hainan Province. With the growing demand from exhibitors, the show keeps expanding in size. This year, the exhibition space reaches 100,000 sqm, accomodating over 1,100 exhibitors across seven halls.

Compared with other fairs, it is beneficial to attend our fair because it has a strong focus on sourcing due to the number of manufacturers that exhibit, unlike some other domestic fairs. Here visitors can connect directly with the manufacturers instead of intermediate agencies. Not only are the choices more diversified and cover all price ranges, these manufacturers provide greater order flexibility. For instance, they may make small orders for a trial first. Being located in China’s toy production hub, it is also easier to visit potential factories soon after the fair.

In addition, Spring is the sourcing season in China that our fair helps attendees to precisely capture the business opportunities. With solid experience and expertise in the toy industry and exhibition, our tailored exhibitor and visitor services also set us apart from the competitors.

What awaits the visitors of the fair?

Guangzhou enjoys a geographical advantage with a lot of manufacturers in the vicinity. Visiting the fair means you are going straight to the source, ensuring direct contact with manufacturers and being able to secure better deals. With such a strong domestic presence at the fair, it is also the ideal location to understand trends in the Chinese market.

Which famous brands will be represented?

Leading brands/ companies exhibiting the show:

Early Childhood: APLI Kids, MOULIN ROTY, NAEF,  TOLO Education ,jollybaby, seebaby, Beiens, Shadez, Meinkind, babyruler

Toys: Viking Toys, Galt, Dou Dou et Compagnie, Rastar, Fisher-price, Disney, Goldlok, AMOS, Goula, Goki, Maisto

Licensors in Animation and Character Licensing Zone:

Astro Boy, Barbie, B. Duck, Chupa Chups, Doraemon, Frozen, Hello Kitty, Cars, Thomas & Friends, Minions, Transformers, Peppa Pig, Spongebob, Teletubbies, Marvel, My Little Pony, Oriental DreamWorks, Sanrio, Warner Bros.

What is the proportion of foreign brands compared to domestic brands?

Our fair is well established and famous in the domestic market and thus the majority of our exhibitors are domestic brands. However, we also dedicated to promoting our show to the world. We have established the International Zone in the recent editions and it is well praised by both exhibitors and buyers. This year, we are happy to welcome 85% more international brands than last edition. 50 exhibitors from 9 countries and regions including Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Denmark, India, Sweden and New Zealand will come to showcase their quality products.

How do you deal with the digitization in the toy industry?

The consumption market in China is going digital that e-commerce and online shopping platform become more and more prevalent. The toy industry is no exception. In order to assist suppliers to deal with the evolving trend, we will organise a series of events including Toy Industry Marketing Summit 2018 and Toy E-Commerce & New Media Application Seminar. Experts are invitied to share their views on the current trend and bring some insights to the attendees.

How will be the area distribution?

Exhibitors will be allocated throughout seven halls. This year we have included a new hall B1 for exhibitors to showcase multiple toy products. The International Zone, all kinds of strollers and baby products can be found in Hall 1. Wodden toys, plush toys and pre-school amusement play-sets are in Hall 2. Other products including models and electrical toys are in Hall 3, 4 & 5. Lastly, Character & Animation Licensing Zone will be in Hall 6.

Are there enough buyers left?

Our last edition attracted over 53,000 visitors both from China and around the world. With the growing demand for quality toy and baby products in China, we are confident that the visitor figure will increase.

How do you get the buyers to your trade fair?

We have been doing all kinds of promotion programme. We distributed both printed and digital materials to our potential visitors. In order to attract overseas buyers, we have also prepared some premier services including free hotel accommodation, business matching, interpreter service and the like. Fringe programme covering topics including animation licensing, pre-school education, e-commerce and global market trends will also help attract more industry players.

Which toy trends await us for the year 2018?

It is expected that Animation Licensing products and intellectual toys will continue to be the most popular products in China in 2018. On one hand, cartoons like Super Wings and GG Bond are big hit in China that the demand for their licensed products also increased significantly. On the other hand, intelletual toys including puzzles, buiding blocks and models are sought after by parents because of their benefits to children’s development.

What is the highlight of this year’s fair?

Apart from the mentioned Animation and Character Licensing Zone, one can also expect to see a strong exhibitor line-up which comprise of some of the quality domestic big names and competitive foreign suppliers. These include Muwan Toys, Tooky Toy, Gentle Treasure Toy, Huastar Technology, MZ Model, Taken Fun and Art from Taiwan, Shadez from Switzerland and Mayday Games from the US and more.

For the first time we will organize a global toy forum – Toy Talks with invited international speakers covering different aspects of the industry, giving their insight about coming trends in the industry.The speakers are Richard Gottlieb, Crystal Zhong, Gary Man, Kirsten Ytterbo, Laura Post, Matt Hudak and Robin Raskin.

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Growing licencing business: “Toy & Hobby China” and “Baby & Stroller China”



Image: Guangzhou Toy & Hobby China