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China Toy Expo: Celebrating growth

Text and pictures by Scarlett Wisotzki, editor-in-chief of Das Spielzeug, ITMA member magazine in Germany

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The China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA), formerly known as the China Toy Association, staged the 10th China Toy Expo at the New International Expo Center in Shanghai from 12-14 October. This year, the trade show was combined for the first time with two other fairs.

Since its inaugural event, the China Toy Expo has grown tenfold, with the most recent fair further contributing to its expansion. In a move to capitalize on synergies and to present a wider range of products, the international three-day event was flanked by the China Kids Expo and the China Licensing Show.

More than 3,000 booths were accommodated in an area of 61,500 m2, up from 2,100 booths and 43,500 m2 in 2010. Around 850 exhibitors from 20 countries displayed their toys and hobby articles, baby products and licensing themes. More than 78% of the Chinese exhibitors represented more than 20 geographical regions which are all known for specific product groups.

The TJPA posted a rapid rise in bookings for group pavilions which brought together groups of Chinese companies from the same regions. This gave trade buyers the opportunity to forge contacts not only with the leading manufacturers of each region but also with smaller companies. Foreign brands, including several German players, were mostly represented by local distribution partners or agents.

More licensing brands and companies
The baby segment took up an entire hall, as did the China Licensing Show, which was organised by the TJPA in cooperation with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ (LIMA) China office. 400 licensing themes from more than ten countries were presented at this event. Top international licensors such as Disney, Hasbro and Mattel also put in an appearance at the show.

This additional event triggered a 77% rise in exhibitors in this segment. In comparison with last year, the number of pre-registered trade buyers climbed 39% to 25,906. The visitors wended their way to Shanghai from 102 nations and regions to view the products at all three events. The large international chains that attend the China Toy Expo on a regular basis and the Chinese buyers were joined this year by several well-known newcomers such as German buying group Idee+Spiel.

An evening of glamour
Ranking among the highlights of the event, the 2011 TJPA Annual Dinner took place at the Shanghai International Convention Center at the Oriental Riverside Hotel. The Dinner not only marked the tenth anniversary of the trade fair, but also the organiser’s 25th anniversary.

The 1000 or so guests included prominent personalities from the industry such as Ernst Kick (International Toy Fair Nürnberg), Carter Keithley (Toy Industry Association), Alan Hassenfeld (Hasbro) and Christian Ewert (ICTI Care Foundation). «We were delighted at how many people attended,» stated May Liang, vice president of TJPA, who feels certain that the China Toy Expo will continue to expand next year.

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