Shanghai – China Licensing Expo, July, 18th-20th 2017

Athena Gong
Athena Gong

On July, 18th-20th 2017, Licensing Expo China will take place at NECC, which has been organized by UBM (Las Vegas Licensing Expo organizer) in cooperation with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the world’s leading trade organization for the global licensing industry.

Licensing Italia, LIMA Representative in Italy, interviewed Athena Gong, General Manager of UBM China, on upcoming event.

L.I. Could you explain what are the most important features of licensing industry in China?

The business model and purchasing model are different. China is a vast country, which has 34 provinces. Though it is one country, there is a huge difference between the Tier 1 to Tier 5 cities. The key players and market dynamics can be different as well. One important part of the supply chain are distributors – they can be the regional distributors, or provincial distributors. They are the most effective way reach more retailers & consumers. They have the network and connections to help penetrate the market. The supply chain is much more mature in the US and Europe. In the US and Europe, the supply chain is shorter than that in China. They don’t have local distributors in the US and Europe, but China does.

L.I. Which categories are nowadays particularly active in the Licensing industry in China?

With the increase in demand from China’s consumers for animation properties, we can see licensed products for animated products will be very popular in China.

In general, licensing for animation properties is most popular in China. We can see consumer tie-ups with popular fast-food chains, convenience stores and clothing and accessories. Licensing is still at its infancy stage in China. A lot of brands, manufacturers and companies have little idea on how to go about it. As the market gets educated, we can see more and more companies getting into it.

Short-term, animation will be most with revenue increase and market share increase.

Long term, as more companies get into the licensing business, we will see more adaptation in the industry. With China opening to the outside world, China is influenced by western cultures, especially in Shanghai and first-tier.  Chinese consumers are getting more exposed to more international licensing properties. As more and more collaborations between consumer products and licensed properties happen, consumers will have more options and awareness.

Aside from the traditional fashion, apparel and accessories, we see potential in several other categories. For example, China is famous for its cuisine and food culture, so we expect to see growth in restaurants, nutrition, and beverages, as well as pre-school education and theme parks (playground). Growth will also stem from Western properties and consumer products such as Alpha & Johnson & Johnson Elsker, McDonalds, Universal Studios, Mattel, Amazon and Bright Dairy. Universal Studios will be open in Beijing sometime in 2020, and more theme parks are expected to spring up in China.

L.I. What are the most important features and the main goals of LEC?

Licensing Expo China 2017 will debut with 250 brands/ licensing properties. What makes this expo different is that apart from the animation and comics, we also bring art & culture, games, entertainment, lifestyle and more.

Aside from the exhibition, we have many activities. Licensors, licensees, retailers and distributors come to our show to do business, so we provide licensors with tailor-made business matching sessions and networking sessions. Licensing Expo China also aims to educate and enrich China’s licensing market, so we have the Licensing Seminars & Summits this year. We will also hold a Character/Properties Parade and will be launching the China Licensing Awards to recognize those outstanding brands/ licensing properties.

Licensing Expo China 2017 is co-located with CBME China 2017, the world’s largest baby product trade fair, with over 4,000 brands and over 88,000 trade visitors covering retailers, distributors, supermarket/hypermarkets/ department store, e-commerce representatives in attendance, which our licensors can benefit from. CBME China’s exhibitors are the potential licensees for Licensing Expo China. Industries cover including apparels, food, nutrition, beverage, snacks, and more.

Under the umbrella of Licensing Expo family including: Licensing Expo (Las Vegas, United States); Brand Licensing Europe (London, United Kingdom); Licensing Expo Japan (Tokyo, Japan), NYC Summit and the licensing industry’s most influential publication: License Global. We can share resources and knowledge. Licensing Expo China aims to connect the most influential entertainment, character, fashion, art and corporate brand owners and agents with consumer goods manufacturers, licensees, retailers and distributors.

L.I. Is the partnership of LIMA important for the Licensing Expo China?

Yes, very important. LIMA – the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association – is the leading trade organization for the global licensing industry. LIMA is quite influential in the licensing industry, and has a great amount of resources that Licensing Expo China can leverage, such as: significant educational opportunities through our popular webinar series and the annual Coursework in Licensing Studies (CLS) program, as well as valuable networking opportunities around the globe. China is young in the licensing industry, and needs a professional organization to provide educational programs to the licensing practitioners in China. In addition, with the partnership with LIMA and Alifish as strategic partner for online IP licensing, the debut of Licensing Expo China will surely achieve great success, and we have been conducting a series of educational sessions to provide the market with the how-tos of licensing. We encourage the licensing industry to do the same. As we educate the market, more and more companies will see the benefits licensing business and growth of the licensing industry.

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