Showbiz extravaganza will reinforce the city's role as a leader in the industry HONG KONG'S entertainment industry will steal the spotlight when the new Entertainment Expo, featuring eight premier showbiz events, is launched today. All the high fliers in the entertainment industry - filmmakers, investors and actors - are expected to flock to the expo, which brings together film and television programming, film financing, a film festival, film awards, music and digital entertainment. Evolved from the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), and organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) to attract finance for the local entertainment industry, the event is expected to draw even more attention and interest this year. Running until April 6, the expo groups together the eight events. FILMART, held in conjunction with the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, will be responsible for organising meetings between financiers and filmmakers, while the other events include the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Hong Kong Film Awards Presentation Ceremony and the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards. In the cyber category, the expo will feature events from the digital entertainment industry, and will include the Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Excellence Awards and the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum. Organisers are expecting many industry leaders to attend because of Hong Kong's excellence in the fields of telecommunications and technology, as well the presence of the digital city, Cyberport. Representing the music sector will be the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). It will hand out awards to best-selling international and local artists. Hong Kong's entertainment ambassador, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, will act as honorary patron, adding showbiz glitz to the expo. Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology John Tsang said: 'By bringing these mega events together, we hope to consolidate Hong Kong's strength and position as the leader in the various facets of the multimedia business.' Hong Kong-based programme distributor Agogo International's director of programming, May To, said she expected the expo to be a magnet for international visitors. The TDC's service promotion director, Raymond Yip, said: 'The Entertainment Expo is a milestone for showcasing Hong Kong's creative industries as it appeals to content creators, investors, buyers, stars and fans alike.' Hong Kong is reputed to be one of Asia's entertainment hubs. In recent years, the local film industry received a major boost with the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and In the Mood for Love. Both won international acclaim and penetrated the western market. Chairman of the TDC's entertainment industries advisory committee, Raymond Chow, said: 'Hong Kong has clear advantages as a regional hub for creative content and services, including its unique movie-industry heritage, cultural and geographical proximity to the mainland and strong intellectual property regime.' FILMART attracts the largest Chinese mainland film contingent every year and serves as a bridge between mainland film companies and the rest of the world, making the expo particularly attractive to foreign investors and companies wanting to enter the mainland film industry. Since mainland authorities started opening up their media sector to outsiders, evident in the lifting of the ban on foreign investment in film and TV production and post-production work, more and more foreign companies have been looking to enter the mainland market. 'Asia's appetite for global content with a local flavour is insatiable, with the rapid growth of satellite and cable TV networks, especially in the Chinese mainland,' Mr Yip said. The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa) between the mainland and Hong Kong also offers local companies benefits beyond the mainland's WTO commitments - such as freeing Hong Kong-produced Chinese-language films from the quota that applies to foreign films. 'Cepa provides strong potential for Hong Kong to attract international industry leaders as partners for co-production, post-production and distribution as Hong Kong's movie industry has privileged access under Cepa,' Mr Chow said.