Record attendance for HK International Licensing Show Asia

Organiser Hong Kong Trade Development Council says that than 23,000 visitors joined the 17th edition of its Hong Kong International Licensing Show this month.

The three-day fair (7-9 January) attracted a record attendance when it ran concurrently with the eighth Asian Licensing Conference (7-8 January).

Speaking at the show, HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said the shifting economics of global manufacturing have created challenges for industry players, with issues such as increasing protectionism and the transition to e-tailing leading many businesses to begin exploring licensing opportunities in a bid to move up the value chain.

Ms Fong noted that the licensing industry had been showing an upward trend, with global sales of licensed products reaching US$271bn in 2017, an increase of 3.3% on the previous year.

The regional story seems impressive, with sales growing by 5.8% to US$31.6bn and accounting for 11.6% of the world total. Fong added that the Mainland China market showed an increase of 10.3%, topping the world growth chart.

Jai Wu, Head of LPL Merchandise & Licensing, Riot Games China, said Mainland China was now the largest esports market globally. The mainland had 250m esports users in 2018, after esports revenue totalled US$760m in 2017.

“We have launched a wide variety of licensing programmes, including comics, novels and a reality TV show. We are developing our esports business through cross-platform and cross-sector cooperation,” said Wu.

First-time exhibitor MotoGP’s Licensing Director of Commercial Department, Phaedra Haramis, said: “Licensing has helped transform our event IP into a lifestyle brand, which is more sustainable. MotoGP events are staged in different parts of the world, with a strong presence Europe, Japan and Thailand. This is my first time to take part in the show and I feel excited that it opens the door to huge licensing opportunities. Through the business-matching service, I am glad to be lined up with apparel manufacturers from Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.”

Another debut exhibitor at the European Lifestyle Brand Forum, Spanish candy brand Chupa Chups’ Licensing Area Manager Marta Ballesteros Codina said: “We have actively developed a cross-border licensing business for promoting the fun and playful image of Chupa Chups. Results at the show are very encouraging. We have located apparel manufacturers from Australia and Mainland China.”

“Amid strong competition, forming partnerships through licensing is the key to grow any business,” said Victor Lam, Managing Director of Hong Kong exhibitor Active Works Company Limited. “We met with a Korean artist-cum-brand owner who was attracted to our cute Puzzle Bear IP through the show’s business-matching service. As both parties have our own IPs and strong licensing and marketing teams, we could launch brand cooperation across regions. We have already had several rounds of negotiation.”