TIA’s Visit to the Hong Kong Toy Fair ‘16
President and CEO Steve Pasierb shares his recent overseas experience and enthusiasm for the Southeast Asian market
Toy Industry Association (TIA) president and CEO Steve Pasierb has made it a priority to be visible in markets where members conduct business and hope to expand. His first visit to the Hong Kong Toy Fair during the week of January 11th provided a glimpse of the region’s possibilities and served to keep dialogue open with its professionals and innovators.
While trade show and showroom offerings were expansive, Hoverboards were not as prevalent at the show as he’d expected. However, he said drones’ omnipresence was truly staggering.
“Drone offerings are expanding in every way, shape and form. Almost every other booth featured a drone of some sort. It seemed like exhibitors almost felt obligated to carry them as a sign of relevance,” said Pasierb. “They’re getting smaller and cheaper – nanodrones are very affordable and should be appealing to kids. Simultaneously, the multicopters are also significantly bigger, feature high-quality cameras and are much more complex at higher price points.”
In addition to seeing offerings from hundreds of exhibitors, global education was also on the TIA agenda. Product safety officials, industry representatives and government experts presented free educational seminars on the show’s opening morning. Among the speakers was Alan Kaufman, TIA’s SVP of Technical Affairs, who discussed U.S. chemical requirements.
“Al is a recognized and respected authority on toy standards and safety,” noted Pasierb. “He travels the world to represent TIA member interests as regulations are developed in emerging markets or reshaped by new legislation in established markets. The next stop after Hong Kong is the renowned Nuremberg Toy Fair on January 29, where he’ll participate in the annual Spielwarenmesse safety education seminar alongside our European counterparts.”
Across Victoria Harbor, the Kowloon showrooms were abuzz with exciting offerings for Fall 2016. “Traditional play value was featured everywhere. In terms of technology, more companies are getting it right – thinking fun and innovative first and not pushing apps for the sake of apps, rather using them to enrich the play experience. There are also fresh perspectives on STEM and STEAM. Creators are acknowledging that the product foremost needs to be enjoyable in order to realize its educational value. Elsewhere, collectibles, branded characters and licensed products should offer exciting new options,” Pasierb said.
The ICTI CARE Foundation also convened its board and Annual General Meetings in Hong Kong. These important meetings support the industry's efforts to assure ethical manufacturing and the protection of workers’ rights expands. TIA has permanent observer status to the ICTI CARE board, with Pasierb serving in this role.
He summarized the two-day meeting: “The organization’s new leadership are outstanding professionals and the staff shows deep commitment to their work. The dialogue at the board meeting was superb with focus on the right issues, an emphasis on specifics and measurement of progress.”
The trip’s most exciting and important detail, Pasierb said, was learning of the formation of the South East Asian Toy Association (SEATA). An anticipated strong companion organization to TIA and Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), SEATA should benefit the entire toy community, he added.
“Our staff and board at TIA are committed to actively supporting and working in a highly-collaborative manner with SEATA,” he said. “We want to help ensure its success in such a vital portion of the globe.”