Hong Kong International Licensing Show opens Jan 11

Asia’s licensing market is booming, accounting for a 12.2 per cent market share worldwide, according to Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) service promotion director Jenny Koo.
Asia’s expanding middle class and growing demand for high-quality brands present huge opportunities to the region’s licensing industry, she told a press conference in the lead-up to next week’s 14th Hong Kong International Licensing Show (January 11-13) and fifth Asian Licensing Conference (January 11-12), at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and organised by the HKTDC.
Describing licensing as a win-win solution, Koo said brands could use licensing as both a revenue stream and a way to quickly expand into other regions. At the same time, licensees can leverage licensed products to quickly upgrade their brands and increase exposure, add value, increase sales and attract new clients.
Industry statistics show that global sales of licensed merchandise amounted to US$158.8 billion in 2014, up 2 per cent year-on-year. And Asia has the world’s fastest-growing licensing market – Greater China. Sales of licensed merchandise there reached US$6.87 billion in 2014, up 8 per cent on the previous year.
“The Chinese mainland alone accounted for sales of US$5.94 billion, making it the second-largest licensing market in Asia,” said Koo.
The largest show of its kind in Asia, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show this year has a record number of exhibitors – more than 340 from 15 countries and regions, showcasing upward of 860 brands and properties. International brands attending for the first time include Hearst Magazines, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Rainbow Internazionale and The Wiggles.
A wide range of licensing categories are in the spotlight, including animation, art and culture, character, edutainment, and fashion and lifestyle, as well as a new food and beverage sector. Art licensing will feature the properties and merchandise of such exhibitors as National Museum of History (Taiwan), the Palace Museum (China) and Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands).
In the fashion and lifestyle category, brands include Lamborghini, Paul Frank and Smiley, as well as football clubs AC Milan, Chelsea Football Club, FC Barcelona and Manchester City Football Club.
Sponsored by Hearst Magazine, the Harper’s Bazaar Lounge, in the Chancellor Room of the newly expanded show venue, will offer a taste of lifestyle licensing. Featuring in the new food and beverage category is The Royal Touch, created by Carolyn Robb, former executive chef to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Licensing opportunities are also offered in the new media arena, with merchandise featuring internet characters like Astro Boy, Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Kumamon, Minions, Mr Men and Little Miss, Sesame Street, Transformers and Ultraman.
On the homefront, Hong Kong Creative Gallery will return with around 60 original characters created by young Hong Kong designers and illustrators, while the leisure and cultural services section will present cross-over merchandise from Hong Kong museums and local designers under the theme “Bring Me Home – the Story of Hong Kong Culture, Art & Design”. Also featured will be award-winning brands from the inaugural Hong Kong Licensing Awards 2015, organised by the Asian Licensing Association.
Of the eight international pavilions at the show, the largest is again the Chinese Mainland pavilion. The other Asian participants – Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand – have also expanded the size of their pavilions. The other two pavilions are from Australia and the UK.
China’s Ministry of Culture returns to the show with a delegation of more than 60 companies. The cultural, art and animation brands and companies participating include the China National Silk Museum and the Palace Museum.
A series of interactive events will help generate business-matching opportunities for visitors. These include “Kumamon Exercise” organised by the Kumamoto Prefectural Government of Japan, “Junior Chef Go! Go! Go!” by Dining Plus, ink colour painting demonstrations, and a series of activities presented by Warner Bros.
A dedicated business-matching session will be run in collaboration with Hong Kong industry associations covering such sectors as garments, publishing, retail and travel, toys, and watches and clocks. More than 500 individual meetings are expected to be arranged this year.
Meanwhile, the associated Asian Licensing Conference will feature more than 30 global experts as speakers, including senior executives from BBC Worldwide, Michelin Lifestyle and Sesame Workshop.
Three breakout sessions will explore brand extension through licensing in the areas of art, culture and tourism; entertainment and new media; and fashion lifestyle and branded services. The speakers will include representatives from Disney, Harley Davidson, Hearst Magazines, Kodak Worldwide, Taiwan’s Jimmy SPA, The British Library, the Palace Museum and The Wiggles.
On the second day, the conference will focus on the mainland market with discussions led by senior executives from Alpha Animation Brand Management Company, Hasbro, HccartoonAnimationTechnology and JD.com, while two workshops will cover the basics of licensing and intellectual property issues.
Running in parallel with the show and conference will be the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and Hong Kong International Stationery Fair.

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