Review of Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2014, China

Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2014, Asia’s premier licensing event helps licensors and agents find partners and expand their regional networks in Asia, particularly the Chinese mainland. At the Licensing Show, more than 700 brands and properties are being showcased by over 230 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions, ranging from characters and entertainment, art, sports, fashion, collegiate and celebrity items to corporate brands.

Featured displays include the Lifestyle Pavilion, with its heritage and luxury brands, as well as sports brands ranging from Arsenal FC to Spalding and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. The show also spotlights art licensing, with brands specialising in art-related merchandise from the Van Gogh Museum and the National Palace Museum, while the Hong Kong Creative Gallery highlights more than 40 local characters and designs.

Over 600 hottest properties and brands like Doraemon, B.Duck, Hello Kitty, SpongeBob, Mcmug & Mudull, Keroro, Astro Boy, Ultraman, Pokemon, Van Gogh, NBC Universal, BBC Earth, Yale University, University of Oxford, Disney, DreamWorks, BMW, Monopoly, Fiorucci, Everlast, Paul Frank, Maui and Sons, FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC,etc. would be showcased in the Show, covering a large variety of categories.

The fairs shared strategies and help extending branding from daily products into intangible services to help create unique brand experiences. Foreign buyers see Hong Kong as a trustworthy platform to help them connect with mainland start-ups and companies. As an increasing number of businesses explore licensing as a way to move up the value chain, Hong Kong will have a key role to play in facilitating the growth of the industry.

The Asian Licensing Conference will feature renowned international and local licensing professionals, including executives from Twentieth Century Fox, Procter & Gamble and Lamborghini SpA. They will examine the latest industry developments and trends and share insights about the licensing business on the Chinese mainland.

Advantage of Licensing
There are many benefits from Licensing, Through the partnership with reputable brands and properties, consumer can distinguish products bearing brand names they are familiar with. Consumers are willing to pay more for the value of licensed merchandise. Lower Opportunity Cost could leverage on the brands’ popularity to achieve a wide marketing impact.

Brand licensing offers a long-term business model for profitable, sustained growth. Corporate brands have proprietary products that are unique to the brand. The primary goal of licensing is brand building, and the goal is to establish long-term partnerships since they are the most successful. Entertainment licensing, in contrast, focuses on images, artwork, characters, and so forth, and the primary goal is to receive royalties. Changes in products and licensees are more frequent than for corporate licensing.

Brand owner should open to products that are relevant to local consumers, active in protecting trademarks and willing to explore other routes to consumers, such as e-commerce and multiple distributor networks.

For licensees strategic partner, should offer to the licensor and deliver consumer insights to show why the collaboration makes sense. There are also stressed the need to invest in innovation to solve unmet customer needs instead of just copying what someone else is doing, and to always be active in protecting trademarks.

Market Trends
In recent years, manufacturers, retailers, edu-tainment companies and food and beverage businesses have been actively seeking collaborations with brands to add value to their products and services, while the range of brands seeking licensing collaborations has diversified from characters and animations to art, culture, corporates, collegiate and music properties.

At the same time, many consumers in the mainland China are proactively looking for personalised goods, which indirectly drives the growth of IP licensing in the country.

Consumers expect brands to stand for something; they want to purchase products that have a story and purpose with which they can identify; and consumers are increasingly seeking a deeper relationship with the brands they interact with.

Product execution involves building a lifestyle mood that transcends the product and the team, through style, design and fashion. Through co-branding and brand collaboration, licensees provide added value, brands need to ensure they select partners with connected core values.

Asian consumers will increasingly put their trust in new technologies such as artificial intelligence and algorithms. Consumers expect real value that goes beyond functionality. At the same time, companies must be considerate of cultural and religious beliefs, committed to sustainability, connected to the digital ecosystem, and offer quick solutions.

Asia’s Licensing Leader
Hong Kong an effective platform for entering the international market exhibitors, an ideal venue to exchanging ideas with industry players from around the world. With its rigorous intellectual property protection regime, robust legal system, professional expertise and proximity to Mainland China and other key Asian economies, Hong Kong “provides the ideal platform for global brands and top licensors to access markets across the region.

Hong Kong is the gateway to the Chinese mainland, the second-largest licensing market in Asia. Hong Kong’s robust intellectual property rights protection and sophisticated logistics network make it the region’s licensing hub and a strategic base from which to tap the mainland market.

The HKTDC continued to provide business matchmaking services on site, and also made the services available online through the Licensing Show website. This one-stop solution connected buyers with exhibitors at the show, helping companies to identify – and make crucial connections with – potential business partners from Hong Kong.

Supported by the Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and organised by Licensing International, the newly established Licensing Academy brought industry players up to speed on issues such as licensing law essentials, operational intelligence and cross-border cooperation between retailers and manufacturers.

Licensing Conference
The third Asian Licensing Conference, the largest of its kind in the region, focuses on opportunities in Asia, particularly the Chinese mainland. More than 30 speakers from 10 countries and regions are taking part in the two-day event. Various plenary sessions and thematic sessions at the Licensing Show saw industry leaders gather to discuss industry trends.

Listen to industry experts in the Asian Licensing Conference (ALC) for all you need to know to succeed with Licensing. With more than 1,000 audiences from 26 countries & regions, in 2013, ALC is the largest of its kind in Asia. 22 speakers from 10 countries and regions representing top global licensors and licensing agents share their insights and experience with the participants, while exploring the opportunities and challenges in the lucrative business of Asian licensing.

In 2014, the theme of the Conference’s plenary session will focus on the growing potential of Asian markets and Asian brands. It will be followed by thematic sessions on emerging opportunities on the Chinese mainland, and two breakout sessions on licensing opportunities in fashion, lifestyle and digital properties. Please click here for more details.

Established in 2010, tobyhk workshop provides character design and consultancy service on marketing. The workshop also licenses its character designs to companies. Today, tobyhk has successfully developed 13 characters including the streamerTM x London Olympics 2012, pandaluvTM as the travel ambassador 2012 of a shopping arcade in Hong Kong.

As an exhibitor in the Hong Kong International Licensing Show, tobyhk workshop, through the liaison of its licensing agent “Lambo Int’l Ltd.”, met the Kawada from Hong Kong and concluded a deal with Kawada to license its “Angelhood” to Kawada as the brand character, starting to expand its business to Asia. Kawada is a manufacturer of automobile lubricants. The company is launching a new product brand targeting the needs of all drivers. Kawada acquired “Angelhood” for value adding its new product brand.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels.