I am in Hong Kong attending the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. It is interesting to be in the middle of where 86% of the toys are actually made. One of the categories that have always interested me is the radio control sector.
The RC sector is a mix of very hot and pretty cold. Land based RC products like cars and trucks are performing very well. What surprised me, however, is that if you are in the helicopter business, life has been tough the past few years and things weren't any better in 2014. With helicopters there are many reasons for poor performance but chief among them is that new helicopter pilots need practice and practice involves crashes. Crashes of RC helicopters utilizing traditional designs…break. In fact, the return rate on RC helicopters has created a non-sustainable business model with little potential for growth in the segment.
So how does the RC segment of the industry maintain momentum with land based vehicles and spark moribund helicopter sales? The 2015 Hong Kong Toy & Games Fair offers some insights. First I spoke with Arthur Chan of T-Link that has a new RC car that performs great on land and equally as well in the water. The "Aqua Racer" waterproof car boasts funky styling and oversized ribbed wheels that allow the car to maneuver over obstacles on land and get good traction in water. The "Aqua Racer" moves effortlessly from one medium to the other and the effect is a fun and enjoyable RC experience. To test the validity of the 'waterproof claim", samples were fully submerged for up to ten hours and then performance tested. Innovative designs like this should help this portion of the RC sector remain strong in the coming year.
What about helicopters? I will write about that in my next posting.
Steve Velte from the 2015 Hong Kong Toy & Games Fair