Plotting toy market’s future – from e-commerce to NFTs

HONG KONG, Jan 11, 2023 – (ACN Newswire) – Industry players should catch up on trends, especially on technology use, as the world returns to normal this year, delegates at the Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference 2023 heard. The conference covered a plethora of the industry’s pressing issues, trends and aspirations themed “The Future of Play”.

The Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference 2023 The Future of Play covered many pressing industry issues, trends and prospects.
In the panel discussion E-Commerce is Shaping the Way for Toys Industry, moderator Stanley Lee, President, E-Commerce Association of Hong Kong, invited the three speakers to share insights: Yoyo Ng, General Manager of iClick Interactive Asia Group Limited; Betty Tse, Associate Business Development Director of AlipayHK and Raymond Choy, Founder of Toy2R Group Limited.

The one-day conference on 10 January was co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Hong Kong Toys Council and the Toy Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong Limited, running concurrently with the HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair.

Key trends

Three key toy-industry trends were explored by the conference’s first speaker Clifton Chiu, Research Analyst – Toys and Games of Euromonitor International, as he noted that the rise of scientific educational toys, kidult toys and the impact of sustainability will be in the spotlight.

Mr Chiu said scientific educational toys were a perfect product for families looking to mix education and entertainment for their children during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, which limited outdoor activities and schooling. He said kindergarteners in Hong Kong had increased access to scientific educational toys that enriched different aspects of their learning, such as mathematics and vocabulary whereas Singapore had implemented robotics and programming into their primary school curriculum since 2018.

He said kidults, mainly young professionals, were willing to spend their disposable income on collectable toys such as blind boxes that let them relive their childhood. Kidults could afford to spend US$15,000 on a pair on Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon limited edition boots but he believed more brands may see the potential for monetising nostalgia.

Sustainability had increasingly impacted the manufacturing and packaging of toys and games with many big players such as Lego consulting consumers and adapting manufacturing and packaging methods in accordance with the sustainability decisions of consumers, Mr Chiu said. For instance, Mattel’s Barbie Loves the Ocean Series is made with recycled plastics collected from the ocean.

“Toys and games are no longer just a problem for kids alone. It is an industry of mostly multi-generational feel that has and will continue entertain everyone no matter how old you are or wherever you live,” Mr Chiu concluded.

Where and what to look into

In the second session, The Key to Success – Things You Need to Know, three industry veterans shared their intelligence.

Drawing on years in the industry, Salley Sze, co-founder of Eastcolight (Hong Kong), noted that it was essential to develop a good brand which helped build up confidence for existing and prospective customers which would eventually be translated into potential business. Then she offered advice on hardware and software, from manufacturing to people management, from quality control to meeting various international standards, as well as from marketing and promotions to being socially responsible that help lead to success.

Arnoldo Concepcion, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Animoca Brands, said web3 technologies were at an early stage of development but use of nonfungible tokens (NFT, blockchain technologies) that allowed users to use experience and interaction to engage in digital lives. This had huge potential in toy industry applications. Web3 technologies could allow an RPG (role-playing) video game user who built a castle, for example, to create different types of experience such as inviting friends to visit the castle or to rent out the virtual building, which created value for the players, he noted.

Mr Concepcion also introduced the decentralised governance concept allowing participants to own platform, as opposed to a central party that could make decisions that may or may not be good for the ecosystem and participants. “These concepts are at a very early stage and it’s time for a lot of ideas to flourish and be developed and experimented with,” he stressed.

Noletta Chiu, Executive Director of Medialink Group Limited, said the licensing industry was a multi-billion dollar global market and best-selling items were mostly licensed characters. Matching target customers with trending products alongside innovative marketing were key success points in toy licensing.

The new game to play

In the panel discussion E-Commerce is Shaping the Way for Toys Industry, moderator Stanley Lee, President, E-Commerce Association of Hong Kong, invited the three speakers to share insights.

Yoyo Ng, General Manager of iClick Interactive Asia Group Limited, introduced attendees to the company’s proprietary omni channel marketing platform which fulfils data-driven marketing automation objectives. The market intelligence platform, she added, offered audience insights which can help formulate digital marketing strategies for Hong Kong, Mainland China and around the world. “The beauty of digital is everything can be measurable, and thus we are able to identify and also measure the conversions for all the clients,” she explained.

Betty Tse, Associate Business Development Director of AlipayHK, said widespread acceptance of online shopping and electronic payments during the pandemic allowed merchants to analyse transactions and come up with products that fitted the needs and interests of consumers. This led Alipay to launch a digital market platform in May last year that allowed merchant partners in Hong Kong to reach out to its 1.3 billion mainland users. Also, the company was building up a global alliance with Japan, Korea, elsewhere in Asia and Europe so digital wallets are connected globally to facilitate effective marketing and payment convenience.

Raymond Choy, Founder of Toy2R Group Limited, said the company used to design toys and manufactured in the mainland while selling to Europe through their distributors. This was made impossible during the pandemic. The company explored the NFT market in the mainland in order to survive, which proved a great success. For instance, the company launched three limited designs of its hero character QEE, each with 10,000 copies, on the Alipay platform in October 2021, which were sold out in 95 seconds.

The e-commerce platform suited small to medium sized companies and manufacturers most, especially for handling trade of small quantities, Raymond emphasised. “Manufacturers should invest time and money to try [e-commerce] and then you will get good results,” he advised.

Fair Websites
– HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair:
– HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair:
– Hong Kong International Stationery & School Supplies Fair:
– Photo download:


The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn.

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