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Asia's Top Licensing Show(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 10,2006)

Hong Kong Licensing Show

 

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Describing the fifth edition of the Hong Kong Licensing Show, held from July 4-6, 2006 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Ramon Go, vice-president of marketing at Intercontinental Licensing USA, said: "The show has continuously brought us good contacts for licensing partners in the Asian region as well as Australia and New Zealand."

Go said his firm is licensor/licensing agent for brands including Hanadeka, Sad Sam & Honey, Planet Happy, Dear God Kid and Romance in White House. "The show is becoming a highly international platform, attracting potential licensing partners from Europe, including Russia, Croatia, Poland and Ukraine, North America and Latin America," he added.

In full agreement was exhibitor Susan Huang, who said there was "no better platform" for licensors in the region. Huang is managing director of Interasia Marketing (HK), licensing agent for Santa Barbara, Forever Friends and Hallmark.

"As Hong Kong is the gateway to the Chinese mainland, licensors wanting to exhibit their brands in Asia - and primarily the mainland - need to attend the show," Huang added.

The event attracted a record-breaking 111 exhibitors from 13 countries/regions, with more than 10,000 visitors from 80 countries/regions thronging the halls of the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Internationally-renowned and home-grown Asian property owners representing more than 280 brands and properties covering sports, art, cartoons, fashion and celebrities, digital media and a host of licensing-related services joined together to make the event a resounding success.

Many of this year's exhibitors were Hong Kong Licensing Show "regulars" who said their attendance resulted in lucrative deals and contracts.

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and sponsored by the New York-based International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), the show demonstrated why it is a must on the "to do" list of all those involved in the industry.

With retail sales of licensed merchandised totalling HK$7.8bn at the end of 2004 (59% of Asia's total retail sales of licensed merchandise), Hong Kong offered show participants and attendees unparalleled opportunities to do business.

"I think the show was fantastic this year, definitely one of the most important licensing shows around the world," LIMA president Charles Riotto enthused.

"Hong Kong is an excellent choice for companies to start developing their licensing business. For Western companies, the business structure is very stable, the economy is good and the English-speaking population here makes doing business a little bit easier than trying to enter the mainland on their own. So it's a great platform."

Highlights of the show included:

  • The debut of the Hong Kong Character Hall showcasing the portfolios of 28 innovative, marketable figurines and character designs by Hong Kong design talent. The hall featured Brothersfree, Toy2R, Richard Wong and Jordan Ma who have worked with such brands as Adidas, Levi's, SONY, Starbucks and Coca-Cola

  • An expanded Design, Digital Entertainment and Supporting Services Pavilion was also well-received by visitors and local industry players. The zone invited licensing-related service providers to explore the business needs that both visitors and exhibitors require

  • Four group pavilions added a distinctive touch to the exhibition floor at the show. Returning pavilions from Korea and Taiwan received positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors. A new Sports Pavilion focusing on branding and licensing opportunities related to the Beijing 2008 Olympics and the launch of the East Asian Games 2009 generated additional interest

Meanwhile, a three-day Licensing Conference featured a series of valuable and insightful marketing intelligence forums where leading local and international professionals discussed the latest trends related to home-grown characters, sports licensing, strategic brand extension, collegiate licensing, intellectual property rights protection and licensing business opportunities on the mainland.

Cynthia Holmes, director of US-based UCLA Trademarks and Licensing, and one of the conference speakers, described the show in glowing terms. "There is clearly a market that is growing here. I have been to other shows in Asia and I would say this is a premier one because of all the services and expertise available in Hong Kong," she said.

The third Premier Asian Licensing Awards, recognising the outstanding achievements and creativity of top licensing professionals in Asia, were held in conjunction with the show.

Nearly 200 nominees were in the running for six prestigious Licensing Awards, and this year's winners included properties from Disney, Hallmark and Star Wars. The awards were presented at a gala dinner on July 5 by Joseph Wong, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology of the Hong Kong SAR Government; Charles Riotto, LIMA president; and Leo Ku, Hong Kong Digital Media Ambassador.

The sixth Hong Kong Licensing Show will be held from July 3-5, 2007, again concurrently with the Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information, please visit the official website at www.hklicensingshow.com.

WRITTEN BY PEARL KINCAID