After the recent outcry over recalling China-made toys by Mattel Inc because of high levels of toxins in them, quality of toys will be the highlight of the 2008 edition of the biggest toy fair in the world.
The International Toy Fair, held in Germany every year since 1950, will next year focus on quality of toys. The weeklong fair opens Feb 7 in Nurnberg.
Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, the main organiser of the fair, said that although controlling quality of products is not their domain, they will nevertheless do whatever is possible in order to ensure that the quality of toys is not compromised with.
"To do our bit in controlling the quality of toys exhibited in the fair, we have decided to hold a quality competition among exhibitors in which their products will be tested by a panel of quality researchers," Kick told IANS.
In the capital to promote the 2008 chapter of the fair, Kick said that after toy giant Mattel Inc recalled nine million China-made toys sold in the US in August this year because they contained lead paint or small magnets that could fall off and be swallowed by children, quality of toys has become a crucial matter which needs immediate attention.
"After the furore over the toxic toys, quality of toys have come to the limelight and rightly so. Thus, quality will be the limelight in our fair as well, where we will encourage better quality and safe products," he said.
The International Toy Fair has the reputation of being the biggest of its kind with a huge participation and exhibition of classic and new products every time.
The fair has also been witnessing increased Indian participation, which rose from 21 companies in 2005 to 26 in 2006 and 32 in 2007. For 2008, 24 Indian companies have already confirmed their participation.
As many as 2,750 exhibitors from 60 countries and 80,000 trade visitors from 120 countries participated in the fair this year, which was held in February. Besides classic products, there were 70,000 new products exhibited.
"We expect 160 new companies to participate this year," Kick said.
The Intellectual Property Rights Council (IPR Council) is another hot spot in the fair.
"The IPR Council is very helpful to toy companies who think that some other manufacturer's product is strikingly similar to theirs or feel that they have stolen their idea. With the help of the council, they can sort out the problems there and then," said Christian Ulrich, director, marketing, Spielwarenmesse eG.
This year, of the 23 cases registered with the IPR Council in the fair, 20 were resolved immediately.