The 19th HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show (HKILS), organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), drew to a successful close last Friday. The five-day online event (11 to 15 January) attracted over 250 exhibitors from around the globe and drew an attendance of more than 6,200 buyers from 47 countries and regions. In addition to buyers from Hong Kong and Mainland China, strong participation from key Asia markets including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam was recorded. About 1,200 online business matching meetings were arranged during the show to connect global licensing players with new business opportunities.
The 10th A Licesiannsing Conference (ALC), which ran concurrently with the HKILS, featured some 40 speakers from top global brands along with renowned industry elites. The conference attracted more than 20,000 viewers to join the event, highlighting how the online format was able to offer networking opportunities spanning the globe. Licensing Academy was among the most popular programme channel in the conference, and participants who were interested in learning the know-how and practical tips in managing IPs and licensing business shared very positive feedback of the programme.
HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said: “Under the impact of the pandemic, the business environment in 2021 remains very challenging. Nevertheless, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show and Asian Licensing Conference were able to attract a wide range of leading international brands and licensing industry elites to participate and explore licensing opportunities with brands, including personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and hygiene products, and stay-at-home products and services, to help create new licensing opportunities amid the current volatility.”
Ms Fong explained that the licensing business can bring high-end value to companies and boost their competitiveness. Global retail sales of licensed merchandise reached US$293 billion in 2019, showing annual growth of 4.4%, and it is expected that the Asian and mainland markets will continue to be growth engines for the licensing industry. She added that the online business matching service offered through HKILS digital platform successfully connected buyers and intellectual property (IP) owners to help forge valuable partnerships.
Hong Kong’s homegrown IPs strive for growth amid pandemic
Exhibitors at HKILS Online were pleased to get the chance to reach out to international buyers during the pandemic through the show’s virtual platform. Many individual artists and young brands in Hong Kong who exhibited at the Show managed to meet both local and international buyers and solicit promising leads.
Stella Cheung, General Manager of Art Cycle Group, said she had met a mega retail group and a famous fast-food chain from Hong Kong during the show and hoped to explore further cooperation with both companies. Ms Cheung realised the good potential of her IP, Robot Nick, to be licensed to dramas and musicals for children to cultivate positive values among the new generation. Wing Y. Li, founder of SHIBAINC, was thrilled to meet licensees and licensing agents from various countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia at the Show this time. She also met a number of Hong Kong buyers, including a famous Hong Kong F&B brand, and she expected potential partnership to be concluded after the show.
Among the international participants, Perfect Drink Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian fast-food restaurant, was impressed by Hong Kong’s creativity and had positive discussions with numerous Hong Kong companies exhibited under the Design Licensing and Business (DLAB HK) pavilion to develop its souvenirs and gifts for its customers.
Digital becomes the growth engine for lP licensing
Digital IPs were a popular category sought after during the show despite the ongoing global pandemic. Quillo Entertainment, a first-time DLAB HK exhibitor focusing on gaming production and animation, has recently ventured into licensing to extend its animated adventure game character, Apopia. The company met numerous international licensees at the show and decided to develop more animation content to cater for its expansion of the company’s licensing portfolio sought by the market.
Art and creative IPs show versatility on licensing cooperation
Art licensing remained a hot area for licensing buyers who attended the HKILS this year. Jackson Tan, founder of Art-Zoo, shared that the pandemic had disruptive impact on its fast-growing creative art business. While Art-Zoo Inflatable Parks launched in Singapore, Mainland China, UAE and Taiwan were hit with a significant drop in the number of visitors, Jackson made the best out of the year in developing content and animations to expand his licensing portfolio. It was the second time for Art-Zoo to join HKILS and Jackson remarked that the online platform allowed them to effectively explore licensing opportunities amid the pandemic.
Another exhibitor, Japan’s CATART, used HKILS Online to arrange fruitful meetings with buyers from Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan. The company had already engaged its Taiwan partner to follow up with those buyers interested in merchandising and licensing its art exhibitions and campaigns.
A total of 40 heavyweight speakers addressed viewers during the Asian Licensing Conference. ALC Online offered four video-on-demand viewing channels including “Expert Sharing: Culture and Arts”, “Expert Sharing: Digital Entertainment”, “Entrepreneur Dialogue” and “Licensing Academy”, with participants able to view the full conference programme at their own convenience.
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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 news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn