China Toy Fair


World Congress Promises Comprehensive Look at the Play Industry

Members of all play-related industries are invited to attend the 2014 World Congress of Play, presented by Global Toy Experts and Creativity Inc. The objective is to foster new relationships, ideas, and businesses, and to engage in conversations about the rapidly changing play market.

The Congress will feature a cast of global speakers who touch on all aspects of play, including video games, traditional toys, digital play, board games, music, entertainment, theme parks, and more. There will also be out-of-the-box discussions on where the business of play might be headed.

The event is scheduled to take place from September 8 to 10 at the Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco in Union Square. Registration can be found online.

TIA Releases Details on PlayCon 2014 Sessions

Digital experts from Google/YouTube, Amazon, RocketHub, and Tongal will present their insights on connecting with 21st century kids and moms, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding at PlayCon 2014, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals. The event is scheduled to take place from May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Growing Up Digital: Creating, Consuming, Connecting” will feature Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube. “Amazon: Key Customer, Marketing Partner, Platform for Customer Engagement, or All Three,” will be presented by Eva Lorenz, category leader for Amazon’s Toys & Games store. For “Get Out of the Box—Get Into the Crowd!” Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub, and Caleb Light-Wills, senior vice president of product at Tongal, will provide an in-depth look at crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

Full agenda details, as well as hotel and registration information, can be found at the TIA website.

ASTRA Convention to Host Special Session on Succession

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is featuring a special session at its annual ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy that will focus on helping specialty toy retailers build succession plans for their businesses. The key takeaways will include: critical factors in determining the value of an independent toy store; how to get stores ready for a sale or transfer of ownership; and establishing a timeline for an independent retailer to make a smooth exit.

Lynn Switanowski of the Creative Business Consulting Group will lead this session. ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held on June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz.  Following the convention, the succession topic will be continued in member-only discussion groups on ASTRA’s website.

PAX South to Launch in San Antonio in 2015

ReedPOP and Penny Arcade have announced the addition of a new PAX event to the calendar: PAX South. Slated to debut in San Antonio, TX, from January 23 to 25 of next year, the southern addition marks the fourth PAX show and third in the U.S. The others take place in Seattle, Wash.; Boston, Mass.; and Melbourne, Australia.

Following the PAX format, the new show will focus on video games, tabletop games, game-inspired music, competitive gameplay, and insights from leaders in the world of gaming.

K’NEX Education to Exhibit at USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo

K’NEX Education will be participating in the third USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, hosted by founding and presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin. Designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, the Festival Expo allows kids and adults to participate in more than 3,000 hands-on activities, as well as see more than 100 live stage performances.

The K’NEX Education Build and Learn Zone invites kids of all ages to have fun with hands-on learning while designing, building, investigating, problem solving, and evaluating scientific and design principles in action using K’NEX rods, connectors, gears, tires, and hubs at interactive building stations. Kids will have the opportunity to chat with K’NEX designers and engineers, and teachers can stop by and learn how K’NEX Education building sets can complement their STEM curriculum.

The Festival Expo is scheduled for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

ASTRA Welcomes 80 New Manufacturers to Its Marketplace & Academy

astra_logo_homeAs reported by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), more than 80 new toy manufacturers will be showing new products in the exhibit hall at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Most of these products are not yet available online, which gives specialty retailers the opportunity to offer them in their communities before anyone else.

“Specialty toy retailers need innovative products with high play value that consumers cannot find elsewhere, and ASTRA is the place to discover them,” said Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA. “These products help retailers position themselves as a hands-on shopping experience that is more creative and more fun and more interesting than the competition.”

ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy will be held June 8 to 11 in Phoenix, Ariz. Admission to the ASTRA Marketplace exhibit hall is free to specialty toy retailers, with registration through ASTRA’s website.

Messe Frankfurt and GDTA to Organize Guangzhou Trade Shows

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) have signed a letter of intent to join forces in organizing the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair and the Guangzhou International Stroller and Baby Product Fair starting next year.

The GDTA acts as an industry voice to communicate with the Chinese government and coordinate with the government for industry research and survey projects. It also organizes the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair.

Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is responsible for Ambiente, Christmasworld, Paperworld, and Tendence. It has exhibition and collaboration experience with different industry associations and government bodies in greater China.

40th Annual ICTI Meeting Starts Today in Tokyo

ICTILogo.pdfRepresentatives of national toy trade associations are convening in Tokyo today for the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) 40th annual general meeting. Hosted by the Japan Toy Association and scheduled for April 6 to 9 at the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa, the meeting will explore issues currently affecting the worldwide toy industry.
In preparation for the meeting, each participating country has submitted a state of the industry report to be discussed during the proceedings. The reports touch on topics such as toy safety, as well as issues of concern to the toy industry, including chemical and environmental impacts.

For more information, contact Molly Carroll at (202) 459-0355 or Tatsuya Kobayashi at 81-3-3829-2513.

Report for Spielwarenmesse 2014 Is Now Available

SpielwarenmesseegSpielwarenmesse eG has released a report showing the main trends for the toy industry this year, which are identified as Fit4Life, Retromania, Mini Is King, and TechToys.

Among the report’s findings from Spielwarenmesse 2014, China had the largest number of international visitors, the total number of visitors from all around the world increased by more than 3,000, and 50 more suppliers exhibited baby and infant articles compared to last year.

An online version of the full report can be viewed and downloaded at the Spielwarenmesse website.

Activision Goes Big with Skylanders Behemoths

AprilFools1Activision Publishing Inc. will release Skylanders Behemoths, a new line of figures spinning out of its popular Skylanders video game series. Unveiled during Toy-kyo Toy Fair on Monday, Skylanders Behemoths features dynamic, life-size R/C versions of popular Skylanders characters. The first wave will consist of 10 five-to-seven-foot tall figures, which are scheduled to arrive in stores this October.

AprilFools2Kids ages 10 and up control each Skylanders Behemoths figure using an included remote. The figures also have an “auto” setting, which turns each figure into an interactive toy that responds to kids’ needs. Right out of the box, each Skylanders Behemoth responds to up to 40 verbal requests, including, “Help me with my homework,” “Bake chocolate chip cookies,” and, “Get me more Skylanders toys from the store.” According to an Activision rep, the figures will constantly learn more responses through a built-in wi-fi connection. [Read more...]