Global sales of licensed merchandise reached US$155.8 billion in 2013 – with Japan and China the largest markets in Asia.
Asia’s licensing market accounts for 12 per cent of the world’s total, and China alone accounted for US$5.5 billion worth in retail value in 2013.
These figures were shared by Hong Kong Trade Development Council executive director Raymond Yip in a preview of the 13th Hong Kong International Licensing Show and the 4th Asian Licensing Conference which take place next week.
The world’s top licensors, including Sanrio, Warner Bros, Hasbro, Lamborghini, P&G, Fox, Discovery and more will explore licensing opportunities in Asia and the Chinese mainland at both events, organised by the HKTDC in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Yip said licensing is a type of intellectual property trading, helping extend brands to various products and services and it supports manufacturers and retailers to move up the value chain, creating opportunities for services sectors such as legal, design and marketing.
“Many overseas brands identify suitable licensees, intermediates and partners via the Hong Kong platform to expand business in Asia and the mainland market,” said Yip, adding that entertainment and characters remain the most popular licensing merchandise in Asia, with retail sales of US$6.9 million, accounting for 37 per cent of market share in 2013.
“Yet, brands and fashion-licensed merchandise have also been growing rapidly – especially in greater China, where the market has doubled in the past five years. Opportunities in the areas of sports and art licensing are also not to be missed,” Yip said.
“Product-wise, fashion, accessories and footwear are the best-sellers, while houseware, healthcare and beauty products as well as food and beverages have picked up quickly, showing the diversification of licensing business in the region.”
The HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show (January 12-14), will feature over 310 exhibitors representing more than 800 brands and properties from 18 countries and regions, a new fair record. Special zones will focus on various types of licensing including sports, lifestyle, fashion and art.
Pop art master Andy Warhol, Van Gogh Museum, The Palace Museum of Beijing, Zhejiang Provincial Museum as well as the National Palace Museum and National Museum of History from Taiwan are among the art-related exhibitors. Football clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and other internationally-acclaimed brands will take part in the Sports & Lifestyle Zone.
New to the fair this year will be Bruce Lee content, the popular mobile game Candy Crush, Lamborghini, Mark Lui Design, Monopoly, and the movie series Planet of the Apes. Nine group pavilions will feature exhibitors from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Italy, which will mount its first-ever pavilion.
Also for the first time, China’s Ministry of Culture will lead more than 40 cultural and creative companies to join the fair. Together with regional participation from Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Hangzhou, the Chinese Pavilion will be the largest to date. Exhibitors include licensors of popular mainland comics and animation such as Ali The Fox and Bonnie Bears as well as cultural heritage brand The Palace Museum.
Yip said China’s central government is seeking to promote the mainland’s cultural and creative sectors as a pillar industry.
“In particular, it encourages more comics, art and cultural institutions and companies to expand business through licensing. By developing new products and services, they have a better chance to tap into new markets.
“With its robust legal infrastructure, strong IP protection and a pool of professional licensing intermediates, Hong Kong stands as Asia’s premier IP-trading hub, helping commercialise the mainland’s cultural and creative works, as well as promoting them to the world.”
A Hong Kong Creative Gallery will showcase 40 local designers and illustrators and feature some 100 homegrown properties such as Bunny King, BB Moment and Mr Hargow. Related figurines will be on display at the Gallery throughout fair period.
The Licensing Show will engage the public under the theme of “Hong Kong Characters Street” , promoting local characters and their licensed merchandise to local and mainland consumers. The HKTDC will stage an Online to Offline (O2O) promotion in Design Gallery shops in Hong Kong and through its online platform on Yahoo! and Taobao, featuring some 20 characters including B.Duck, McMug & McDull, Molly, Panda-a-Panda, Qee and more.
In addition, special promotions are being staged from January 1-14 at five Pacific Coffee outlets in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. Limited edition coffee mugs with homegrown characters Chocolate Rain, Flying Sofye, Maggiology, McMug & McDull, and Old Master Q will be on offer. The public can also win special prizes on the HKTDC Facebook account.
More than 30 high-profile industry speakers from renowned global brands will speak at the Asian Licensing Conference from January 12-13. Highlights include four newly added breakout sessions aimed to assist members of various sectors including fashion, education, lifestyle and retail to move up the value chain.
During the plenary session, high level representatives from 20th Century Fox, PVH Corp, P&G and Lamborghini will share insights on licensing trends and promotional strategies in Asia. The China thematic session will feature mainland licensing experts from Fantawild Holdings, Oriental Dreamworks, Beijing Huajiang Culture, Metersbonwe Fashion & Accessories and Uyoung Media to analyse opportunities and challenges for the mainland’s licensing industry. Other speakers include management from Penguin, National Palace Museum and Andy Warhol Foundation. Two workshops will provide practical information on starting licensing businesses.