President’s Letter – January 11, 2011: Hong Kong Christened “Toy Town”

The opening day of the Hong Kong Toy Fair yesterday culminated with a lavish reception to celebrate the 60th year of Hong Kong as “Toy Town.”

The event was a warm gathering of all the leading players in the toy industry who had worked together and competed against each other for decades.  It was a time for celebrating successes, telling stories about disasters and nurturing long-standing friendships among members of the “toy family.”  As usual in the toy industry, the crowd was irrepressible, despite efforts to shush conversations out of respect for the speakers.

The centerpiece of the event was the introduction of a wonderful new book entitled Toy Town.  The book is a biography of the Hong Kong toy industry penned by Australian journalist, Sarah Monks, who served for nearly 15 years as head of the HK Trade Development Council’s global corporate communications program.   Anyone who has worked in the toy industry during the past sixty years will recognize the characters in the book and know many of the stories that are told.  The book is a thorough piece of journalism, filling in gaps and revealing many untold stories that people in the industry will find fascinating. 

Toy Town will be on display and available for purchase at the American International Toy Fair in New York City this February.  I have had the pleasure of meeting many toy industry figures whose stories are told in the book, and I am looking forward to learning more about their struggles and triumphs.  I have come to love the toy industry in the mere five years that I have been involved, and I know that those of you who are veterans will love this book.    

Carter Keithley