Platform for professionals

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 January, 2012, 12:00am



To foster growth of the Asian intellectual property industry and help global firms access the mainland market, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show offers business and networking opportunities, and market intelligence to industry veterans from around the world.

The event, which kicks off today, helps licensors and licensing agents find partners and expand their network in Asia. It also provides a platform for professionals, such as licensors, licensing agents, licensees, brand builders and legal advisers to promote new properties and licensing-related services. The show is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

Licensing is the leasing of a trademark or copyrighted entity - a name, logo, trademark, graphic design, slogan, signature, character, or a combination of several of these elements. The entity, known as the property or intellectual property, is then used in conjunction with a product.

Strategically held alongside the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair, the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the licensing show has attracted in excess of 170 exhibitors and is expected to draw more than 15,000 visitors from all corners of the world this year.

The show features five group pavilions: the mainland, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Britain, and two thematic zones: the lifestyle pavilion and the character and design gallery. This year's new properties include Shanmao, HosannArt, Sophie la girafe, Open Chan and Angry Birds, alongside classic characters such as Barbie, Batman, Forever Friends, McMug & Friends, Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, and Transformers. Also exhibiting are lifestyle brands including Acquascutum, Fiorucci Gianni Valentino, Hallmark Design Collection and Jaguar.

With the hosting of the 8th Premier Asian Licensing Awards Presentation Ceremony and the Asian Licensing Conference, the fair offers many networking opportunities. Meanwhile, an Executive Roundtable will see key speakers, industry stakeholders and government officials discuss opportunities and challenges facing the industry.

Shin Sang-joon, president of Character Korea, which specialises in content development and production, says the company found a licensing agency partner to oversee its licensing business in China at last year's trade show. 'We would like to promote our property in coalition with our partner to boost the licensing business in the region this year,' he adds.

Its property, KAMBU, is associated with an animation called KAMBU in Mystery Island, a slapstick comic adventure of an unpredictable but lovable mail-dog, KAMBU, in six villages in Mystery Island.

Hong Kong-based Empire, involved in merchandise licensing of intellectual properties from films, television, comics, corporate brands, books and games, is a long-time exhibitor. 'Every year we have new properties to introduce,' says general manager for marketing Alexander Co. 'We are able to reach the biggest number of potential licensees in a few days. Many are new players.'

One of the company's properties is the Mr Bean Coffee brand. 'We have Mr Bean Coffee Shops in Shanghai and [this] year they will be all over China. Malaysia will open its first [shop this year],' Co says.

Another property is the cartoon character Felix the Cat. A 3D television series and a 3D movie will soon be launched based on it. Similarly, a 3D television series will be released based on The Little Prince, which will bring the heroic character to a wider audience and create demand for merchandise in Asia.

Chai Nakhonchai, director general of the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture of Thailand, says: 'We witness visits by a large number of exhibitors and buyers every year to the licensing show. We won't miss the opportunity to participate in it.'

Thai officials first visited the event three years ago as an observer and saw the potential of the licensing business. This year it has invited Thai licensing companies to participate in the country's pavilion to promote Thai characters overseas.

'We have a lot of characters to introduce at the show,' Nakhonchai says. 'Some are popular in Asian markets while others have the potential to get the best deal back home this year.'