Hong Kong – A Living History of the Toy Business

Global Toy News has agreed to share some articles highlighting industry news and trends, fun stuff and more. Today, Hong Kong Toys Advisory Committee member Mr. CK Yeung takes us through the history of the Hong Kong toy business. Read more from Global Toy News on hobbyDB here!

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Mr. CK Yeung is the former Vice Chairman of Blue Box International Limited. He is a member of the Hong Kong Toys

Advisory Committee, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and former Vice President of the Hong Kong Toys Council.

Mr. Yeung is a Hong Kong Toys Advisory Committee member and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. He is the former Vice President of the Hong Kong Toys Council. He is the Hong Kong Toy Association honorary consultant on the toy museum issues.

As we all know, Toys are not just for children’s play. Toys are so much more. They are cultural products closely associated with history, social developments, children’s education, overseas trade, and ultimately economic development. Hong Kong has played an essential role in developing the global toy industry after the second world war.

Before the war, the United States and Germany were the leading toy manufacturers. After the war, Japan became the leading supplier of toys when the U.S. toy manufacturers moved production to Japan. That all changed when the U.K., the United States, and other European countries started to buy toys from Hong Kong due to cost advantage. From 1960 onward the Hong Kong toy industry gradually built its position as the global toy center.

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In 2010, The Toys Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong published a book named “TOY TOWN,” in which the author Sarah Monks helped tell a memorable story of the development pf the Hong Kong toy industry.

Over the past 80 years, Hong Kong toy companies and manufacturers have made uncountable numbers of creative toys and games for the global markets. We desire to house them respectfully to tell their story. Therefore our toy fellows all want to go for a permanent Toys Museum such as the ones established in almost all the world’s major cities. Doing so can demonstrate our claim as the global Toy Center.

On December 2011, we held a “Toys Museum Exhibition” under the name ” TOYS PARADISE-THE CREATIVITY AND TOY CULTURE OF HONG KONG” at the Hong Kong Design Institute exhibition hall for three months. The exhibition presented approximately 1,000 selected toys made in Hong Kong throughout different historical eras.

The exhibition showcased 100 nostalgic toys from the early Qing Dynasty to the 1960s. These toys were made from clay, bamboo poles, cloth, wood, paper, etc.

The exhibition was very successful. During the show, nonstop lines of visitors queued up at the door to enter every day. In addition, the exhibition attracted a number of media outlets.

Five years later, we put on a much larger Toys Museum Exhibition, Entitled “The Legend of Hong Kong Toys.” We launched it at the Museum of History in May 2017. It was jointly presented and organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong Toy Council, and The Toys Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.

Four hundred thousand visitors of all ages visited the exhibition over its two and half months.

Different categories of toys and games were beautifully displayed, covering an area of approximately 30,000 square feet. Many significant and iconic showpieces were displayed in the open area where visitors could enjoy taking pictures.

This exhibition presented items from the past and present, including conventional toys and games of different categories, toys in vogue, and toys in the new era.

Foreign and domestic toy brands and companies supported the exhibition as did the Museum of History’s rich collection, the Cultural Museum of Hong Kong, and toy collectors. We also allocated space for children to play with free toys donated by our toy company supporters.

In December 2022, representatives from both the Hong Kong Toys Council. and The Toys Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong met with the government to express our desire for the government to support the establishment of a “PERMANENT TOYS MUSEUM.”

In our presentation to the government, we referenced the world’s most important Toys Museums: The Strong Museum of Play in the United States, The Nurnberg Toys Museum, and toy museums in other European countries and Japan. These museums all support each country’s heritage, culture, and education.

I am confident that some day we will eventually get our Hong Kong Toy Museum, attracting tourists worldwide.

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8 months ago

Good luck with the permanent museum! That sounds like a great idea!

8 months ago

Thanks to Sarah Monks’ book on HK Toys, we also now know more about the HK Dinkys! See the 2 online references at the end of this article: https://www.maronline.org.uk/more-hong-kong-dinkys/

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