13th Hong Kong Licensing Show Draws Record Attendance

The 13th HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show (12-14 January 2015), attracted a record of more than 19.500 visitors, a nine per cent increase over last year. The rise was attributed to stronger participation from the Chinese mainland, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States as well as from Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the Asian Licensing Conference (12-13 Jan) featured more than 1.200 licensing business leaders, while over 30 high-profile industry experts from renowned global brands and organisations spoke at the two-day conference.

Rise Of China

Raymond Yip, Acting Executive Director of the HKTDC, said the licensing industry is turning its attention to Asia, in particular the Chinese mainland market. “With the growing number of affluent Asian middle-class consumers, there is more awareness of high quality branded products which creates development opportunities for the licensing industry.”

During the Asian Licensing Conference, Charles Riotto, President of International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) noted that global retail sales of licensed goods in 2014 were around US$200 billion, with the United States accounting for about 59 per cent, or US$1,191 million of the total. The US was followed by Japan (US$17.6 billion), United Kingdom (US$17 billion) and Germany (US$9.9 billion). Mr Riotto added that, “China is one of the fastest growing countries in licensing industry.”

At the China Thematic Session of the conference, Rebecca Lo, Council Member of Licensing Executives Society of China predicted that the mainland will rise to become the world’s second-largest market for licensed products, after the US, within a decade. “With the surge of middle-class population and the continued effort to strengthen the protection of intellectual property, such as shortening the time to deal with intellectual property disputes, increasing the amount of compensation, etc, this is a good sign for the future of the licensing industry,” Ms Lo said.

Hong Kong’s Role

More than 500 business-matching meetings were held, including those supported by the Hong Kong Apparel Society, Guangzhou Animation and Comics Industry Association, Beijing Huajiang Culture, and Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, Television, Press and Publication were arranged to give participants the chance to connect and develop new business opportunities. Mr Yip said: “There is a great potential for Asian cultural and creative enterprises in the licensing industry. As a licensing and also IP-trading hub of Asia, Hong Kong not only helps overseas brands to develop in the Chinese mainland market, the city is also helping Asian brands to go global.”

For the first time, China’s Ministry of Culture lead a delegation of more than 40 companies to the event, aiming to promote exports of cultural and creative licensed merchandise. Palace Museum of Beijing made its debut at the Licensing Show, bringing more than 300 products to the event. Yang Xiaobo, Sales Management Department Director of the Palace Museum said: “Taking part in the Licensing Show, we were able to leverage this platform to collaborate with licensing organisations and expand licensing business to overseas markets. Palace Museum
received much interest, including Tencent QQ’s suggestions to create emoji icons from mascots of Palace Museum.”

Ivan Chan, President of PPW Sports & Entertainment, said Hong Kong’s geographical and cultural advantages could help overseas products enter the mainland market. The company assisted Candy Crush, an original Facebook Game App, to launch in WeChat, attracting more than 50 million downloads within a few months. He pointed out that China is a huge market and is the future for licensing.

Seeking Partners

Monco Creation Ltd attended the Hong Kong International Licensing Show for the first time. Company director, Jennifer Kwok, said: “We met potential clients from Europe, China, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong during the three days. We look forward to a successful deal in the near future.”

King Enterprises International Ltd, a licensing agent, attended the show for the second time and was able to explore opportunities with manufacturers to promote Chibi Maruko Chan, a popular Japanese cartoon character.

2Spot Communications Co, Ltd. from Thailand attended the show for a fourth time to source new customers and keep abreast of new product design directions.

The Hong Kong International Licensing Show (12-14 Jan) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, welcomed a record of more than 310 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions. Nine group pavilions featured exhibitors from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and, for the first time, Italy.

The International Licensing Show was held alongside the HKTDC Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and Hong Kong International Stationery Fair to create opportunities for cross-over business activities and intelligence sharing.

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