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Creativity, technology and code of business practices keys to competitiveness of toys, says industry leader

Secretary for Home Affairs Dr. Patrick Ho, Trade Development Council (TDC) Executive Director Mr. Michael C C Sze, and Chairman of TDC Toys Advisory Committee Mr. Edmund Young are all young at heart when they visit TDC's Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair today (January 7). Development cost of the mini sedan car on display is comparable to buying a real car of the same brand.
Hong Kong will continue to lead the world as the world's largest toy exporter in 2003, but more should be done for the industry to stay even more competitive, said Chairman of the Trade Development Council's (TDC) Toys Advisory Committee, Mr. Edmund Young at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair 2003 today (January 7).

"Production in the Chinese mainland has enhanced the price competitiveness of Hong Kong toy exporters, while Hong Kong's role has shifted even more towards quality control, management, marketing, product design and production planning.

"The development now focuses on an increasingly creative, high-tech and electronic platform. Hong Kong players have to keep abreast with advanced technology which influences all aspects of the business, from product design and manufacturing, to sales and production."

Mr. Young also called for full acceptance of the International Council of Toy Industries' (ICTI) Code of Business Practices by all buyers and manufacturers.

"Safe and ethical working conditions have risen higher and higher on the agenda of overseas buyers. Meeting these standards has become a matter not only of social responsibility, but also of maintaining and growing our business."

The fair organised by the TDC attracts over 1,700 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions. It is the largest of its kind in Asia and one of the top three toys fairs in the world.

The TDC also invites 35 buying missions from 21 countries and regions.

The fair this year features a "Hobby Goods" section for the first time. It highlights a wide range of pastime pleasure activities involving models, collectable items, miniatures, puzzles, play sets, board games and all kinds of hobby goods.

In addition to the Hobby Goods section, exhibitors are categorised into educational toys and games, battery-operated electronic toys, baby toys, die cast/mechanical toys and action figures, party items/toy parts and accessories, multiple products, outdoors and porting items, soft toys and dolls.

Following the continued success of last year, TDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd jointly staged the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair along with the Toys Fair again this year to provide a broad spectrum of exhibits for international buyers. The Stationery Fair attracts 210 exhibitors from around the world, which is 30% more than last year.

Both fairs are not only a marketplace but also an information platform for the industry. A brand name seminar and a licensing seminar will be held during the fair period for industry leaders to share experience.

In the first 10 months of 2002, Hong Kong's exports of toys fell by 4%, largely due to the continued trend of Hong Kong manufacturers producing in the Chinese mainland increasingly shipped directly from the mainland.

According to TDC's latest report on Christmas sales in major overseas markets in 2002, there was a 2 % increase in the US' Christmas sales. While the odds of a US strike against Iraq are high, its negative consequences are unlikely to result in a renewed contraction of the US economy.

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For press enquiries, please contact Lawrence Yau of TDC's Corporate Communication and Marketing Department at 2584 4333.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council