Exclusive Interview with Wendy Wen: Director of the Guangzhou International Toy & Education Fair

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The Guangzhou International Toy & Edu Fair takes place April 8-10 at the Poly World Trade Center Expo in Guangzhou, China. It is a major trade show for the domestic Chinese toy industry and one that is of interest for Americans who wish to sell their products in China. To find out more, I interviewed Wendy Wen, the Director of Trade Fairs for the Messe Frankfurt, the producer of the Guangzhou International Toy & Edu Fair. Here is my interview:

Richard – How many exhibitors do you expect at this year's show and how many attendees?

Wendy – We are expecting over 1,100 exhibitors and more than 60,000 visitors this year.

Richard – What does it cost to attend the Fair and the Toy Talks Forum?

Wendy – Guangzhou International Toy & Educational Show (Toy & Edu China) and the concurrent Guangzhou International Stroller and Baby Product Fair (Baby & Stroller China) are free for trade visitors. Participants are also welcome to attend the Toy Talks Forum on 8 April with multiple industry experts sharing insights on the latest toy trends and tips for doing business in the toy & play market. Seats are limited and available on a first come first served basis. Visitors are encouraged to pre-register online to reserve a seat for the forum. They can pre-register here: https://portal.messefrankfurt.com.hk/services/vor/registration_form.aspx?exhibition_id=2601&language=en

Richard – This is a trade show primarily for Chinese retail buyers. Can you tell us about some of the larger retailers with a brief description that will be attending this year's event?

Wendy -  Last year the two fairs attracted over 56,000 buyers from China and around the world. Our premium buyers include some of the leading trading & retail groups, licensing agencies, toy giants, e-commerce platforms, department stores & supermarkets. 

Major retailers will include: AEON, Lotte Mart, ParknShop, Auchan, Carrefour, Walmart, Watsons, BigC, Morrisons and Tesco.

Chinese domestic retailers include: Renhe Spring Department Store , Pacific Department Store , Parkson Department Store, Wangfujing Department Store, Beijing Hualian, Haiziwang, China Resources Vanguard, Miniso, JD.com, Vipshop, New World Department Store China, and Yonghui Superstores.

This year we have invited not only big names like Citysuper, Li & Fung, Toys"R"Us, Mattel, MGA Entertainment, Sega, Bandai, Kidsland, Silverlit and Sieper to come as our premium buyers, but also thousands of local and regional small- medium retailers, wholesalers and distributors.

Although Chinese visitors constitute a large part of our show, we are attracting more and more international buyers particularly from Asia and Russia in recent years.

Richard – Last year I worked with the Messe Frankfurt to produce the Toy Talks Forum which took place during the Guangzhou International Toy & Edu show. It was a pleasure to do and was highly successful. This will be the second year for the event. Can you tell our readers why the Messe Frankfurt feels it is important to put on the forum?

Wendy – Based in Guangzhou in Southern China, Toy & Edu China has a history of over 30 years. It was a domestic-oriented fair before Messe Frankfurt joined the Guangdong Toy Association as an organizer in 2015 to bring more international presence to the fair. Since then, we’ve welcomed more and more international exhibitors and buyers from around the world every year. We’ve noticed the rising interest of overseas industry players in getting into the Chinese market, and provide them with not just a business platform, but also guidance in doing business in China. Last year’s forum was a great success with active participation. The audience were engaged and raised a lot of questions to the speakers. We believe that the valuable information in the forum will help attract more overseas visitors to the fair. As such, we’ll hold the Toy Talks Forum again, inviting a new group of speakers to talk about some of the hottest topics in China and the world toy market.

RichardThe Guangzhou International Toy & Educational Show is the new name for the Guangzhou International Toy & Hobby Show. Can you tell us why the name was changed and what that change means for those who attend?

Wendy – According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s educational product market value has grown from USD 1.15 billion in 2011 to USD 3 billion in 2016. It is also important to note that the pre-school educational service market value has also surged to USD 90 billion in 2018. With a greater emphasis on children’s all-round development and rising popularity of the STEM concept in China, we believe the demand for educational products will continue to increase. Educational products and toys are highly related that the former are catching more attention from customers in recent years. The fair’s change in name coincides with suppliers’ increased awareness on the rising educational product market. We can see that our exhibitors are putting more effort in tapping into this market potential by developing more educational products. As a result, more related products like pre-school learning systems are on offer at the fair.

The Forum aims to provide the insight from industry experts with a focus on China market for both overseas brand doing business in China or China products to be exported abroad. (not only one way).

Richard – Finally, the Fair takes place in Guangzhou. Can you tell our readers where the Fair is relative to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen?

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Wendy – Guangzhou is located in Guangdong province, which is the country’s global toy manufacturing center where around 70% of toys for the domestic market and around half of world’s toys are made. As such, a majority of Toy & Edu China’s exhibitors are actual manufacturers with their own factories. This is an advantage for visitors as they can have direct contact with these suppliers rather than dealing with agents, while many of the suppliers are cost-effective and accept small MOQ orders. Visitors can also spend time after the fair to visit the factories of their potential partners in Guangdong.

Guangzhou is also part of the Greater Bay Area where lies abundant of business opportunities when the China government put a lot of effort in promoting the collaboration between Southern China, Hong Kong and Macau in recent years. Guangzhou now serves as an important business hub for overseas brands who want to start or expand their business network in China.

 

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