China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Marble Runs Are on a Roll!

During Toy Fair last month, I saw quite a few marble runs on display, which is not at all surprising. This particular toy has been around since my own childhood and never seemed to go away for any prolonged span of time. Meanwhile, one of the vendors I spoke to said marble runs have actually increased in popularity over the past year, thanks to the growth of the construction toy category. He also said that many customers opt for larger sets—or else buy multiple small ones of the same brand—and that the ability to combine sets to build ever-larger runs makes for exceptional toy value in their eyes.

Personally, I think marble runs are a thing of beauty: You drop in your fateful spheroid and watch as it winds its way toward its ultimate destiny, guided only by physics and skilled engineering. For young builders, they are a terrific means of developing an understanding of cause and effect, not to mention patience–as any seasoned vet can tell you, it can take repeated tries and multiple setbacks before a marble run is put together perfectly. But it’s worth it: A well-built run can have a downright pacifying effect, as watching the marble traveling along can put the mind in a focused, relaxed state.

Despite what they may have in common collectively, marble runs come in a range of different shapes, materials, and styles. Here are a few of my favorite companies currently producing them, but by no means should it be considered a definitive list. The breadth and scope of these toys is certainly worthy of a longer discussion; I’m just here to get the proverbial ball–or marble–rolling:

Phil.2.28.Pic2Hape is known [Read more...]

Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair Returns in January 2014

HKTDCThe HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair will return next year from January 6 to 9 in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The fair allows the industry to get a head start on strategies planning for the year ahead.

Last year’s show drew more than 39,000 buyers from 126 countries and regions. This year marks the 40th edition, and more than 1,900 exhibitors are expected to bring their latest collections on display, ready to meet their potential business partners. The fair will include group pavilions such as Chinese mainland, Indonesia, Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and World of Toys Pavilion in the coming edition, further testifying to its internationality.

The fair highlight Brand Name Gallery is geared towards the needs of buyers seeking top-notch branded toys from quality names. Renowned brands include B, Beleduc, B Kids, CMC, Color Rich, Daniel & Co, Dragon, Ein-O-Science, Enesco, Hape, Intex, Moulin Roty, Plan Toys, Welly, Viking Toys, and VTech.

With the trend of combining traditional toys and modern smart devices plus app functions, a wide range of innovative toys and games is available for kids, teenagers, and adults in the new Smart-Tech Toys zone. Exhibitors include Calm Island Co. Ltd., Maksco Toy Ltd., and Roam & Wander Ltd. [Read more...]