Show focusses on international licensing

Global licensors and brands can explore business opportunities at the 15th Hong Kong International Licensing Show, which ends tomorrow at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“Hong Kong’s proximity to the Chinese mainland, robust legal system, sound intellectual property protection, far-reaching business connections and deep pool of global IP professionals make it an ideal strategic base for international brands and top licensors to capture Asian as well as global licensing opportunities,” says acting executive director Benjamin Chau of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the event organiser. The show is Asia’s largest and the world’s second-largest event of its kind.

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“The Asian licensing industry has been thriving in recent years,” says Chau. “With the proliferation of digital technologies, the internet, smartphones and social media have become an integral part of everyday life. Riding on this development, many personalities, characters and brands have become runaway sensations, creating boundless licensing opportunities.”

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Asia’s retail sales of licensed goods amounted to US$27.4 billion in 2015, representing about 10.89 per cent of the global total. In China, sales of licensing products even reached US$7.22 billion in 2015, a 23.8 per cent increase from the previous year.

A record 370-plus exhibitors from 12 countries and regions feature at the show, with more than 900 brands and properties on display. Licensors and brands include 20th Century Fox, Caterpillar, MTV, Nickelodeon, Rainbow, Rovio, Sanrio, Smiley and Warner Bros, plus global licensing agents such as Global Icons, IMG and LMCA.

Six group pavilions feature at the show, from Japan, Korea, Mainland China, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Entertainment/characters are still the fastest-growing licensing property category in terms of global licensed merchandise sales, grossing more than US$113.2 billion, or 44.8 per cent of all categories.

Licensing properties are rapidly diversifying, however, and the show features licensing opportunities in such categories as lifestyle and fashion, edutainment, art and culture, animation, and food and beverage.

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Contract signed

At the opening of the show, a contract was signed between the China Art and Culture IP Trading Platform and 10 mainland museums, which will join the platform. An art and culture roundtable has also been held at the Chinese mainland pavilion to discuss and explore the industry’s latest business opportunities.

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The Hong Kong Creative Gallery has returned to promote local creativity, showcasing more than 70 extraordinary properties and original characters created by young Hong Kong designers and illustrators.

Properties and characters on display include Plastic Thing, Squly & Friends and X Touchy x Feely X.

In conjunction with the trade fair is the two-day Asian Licensing Conference, involving 27 global licensing experts. Two plenary sessions yesterday focussed on the licensing industry’s prospects in the digital age.

The first session featured senior executives from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), Bandai Namco Entertainment (Dragon Ball, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Taiko no Tatsujin), Rovio Entertainment (Angry Birds) and YouTube.

The second plenary session brought together representatives from Discovery Global Enterprises and Beanstalk, and Viacom International Media Networks (MTV, Nickelodeon).

In a brand strategy breakout sessions, speakers included executives from 20th Century Fox, Iconix Meredith and Moleskine.

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A second breakout session was devoted to Belt and Road Initiative markets. Speakers included executives from Thailand’s Pacific Licensing Studio (Cartoon Network, DreamWorks Animation and Warner Bros), Indonesia’s MNC Media (Avatar, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Russia’s Animaccord Animation Studio (Masha and The Bear) and representatives from the belt and road committee of the Hong Kong Lawyers Association.

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