Capturing licensing opportunities amid volatility
In light of the continuing global pandemic, the 19th HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Show (HKILS) and 10th Asian Licensing Conference (ALC), both organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will run as online events from 11 to 15 January 2021. The two events will feature representatives from top global brands and renowned industry elites, sharing their insights on linking creativity with businesses during a time of pandemic, discovering business opportunities through licensed properties and brand partnerships, and showcasing licensed products and services to encourage creativity amid the current challenges.
Speaking at a press conference held today to introduce the two events, Stephen Liang, HKTDC Assistant Executive Director, said: “Global retail sales of licensed merchandise reached US$293 billion in 2019, showing annual growth of 4.4%. As the world’s third-largest licensing market, Asia accounted for 12% of the global share of sales. Mainland China, with a 9.6% year-on-year increase, was the second largest market in Asia. We expect that the Asian and mainland markets will continue to be growth engines for the licensing industry.”
Mr Liang said the virtual Licensing Show has attracted 250 exhibitors from around the globe, including top global licensors/agents, renowned brands, and IPs from Hong Kong and Asia. He added that the Virtual Business Matching Service offered through HKILS Online will be in high demand by companies from various sectors that are keen to explore cooperation through suitable intellectual properties (IPs). “The licensing industry has shown great flexibility in operations and forged partnerships that have enabled companies to stand out during the pandemic. The Licensing Show has attracted participants from a broad range of industries, including companies producing personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and hygiene products, online shopping and retailing kitchenware, gaming and furniture, helping them to capture licensing opportunities amid the current volatility,” he said.
PPE opens up new avenues for companies
Though the pandemic has affected almost all industries, numerous business opportunities have been created under the “new normal”, including using IPs for products such as masks and protective materials. The Mainetti Group, an Italian manufacturer and supplier of garment hangers and product packaging, has launched MainettiCare, a new range of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. At the press conference, Paul Tai, Regional Director of Mainetti Group, showcased the company’s “Made in Hong Kong” disposable masks, produced in collaboration with local manufacturers, and highlighted its partnerships with B.Duck and Astro Boy to launch licensed masks.
Matrix, a corporate and promotion gift supplier, has been working closely with international brands on licensed products and services, including partnerships with Barbie and Peanuts to launch branded gifts. Ray Leung, Managing Director of Matrix, said the company has designed exclusive PPE gifts for corporations during the pandemic, selling almost 2.7 million units of hand sanitiser to local customers. Through its website, GiftU, the company has become an e-commerce pioneer in the gift sector. Its “Funhub” service allows corporations to customise their gifts using IPs created by local illustrators. “During the pandemic, numerous markets and fairs go online, people start using e-commerce under the new normal; Funhub has thus been launched, allowing clients and cartoon fans to customise their products. This is the first time Matrix participates in the Licensing Show, we hope to build partnership with local illustrators, designing more customised gifts for different corporates,” he said.
Cultural and creative IPs create business opportunities
Cultural and creative products are becoming increasingly popular, and numerous individual artists have boosted their popularity by designing licensed properties. This year’s Licensing Show will showcase numerous original creations, such as Mr.Giraff, Happy Gappy and Sing Sing Rabbit (a music IP from Hong Kong), CATART (a painting IP from Japan) and Shaogao (a comic IP from Taiwan). Sing Sing Rabbit is a local singer-songwriter whose songs were licensed to the famous Japanese music mobile game “Cytus II”. Her new single, My Happy Pancake Shop, will premiere on the “IP Discovery” Channel during HKILS Online.
Sing Sing Rabbit has worked with different international brands, aiming to enter the designer toy sector. Her work includes a partnership with six local and Japanese artists to produce characters for The Seven Bubbles series created by Inscape Studio. “Character licensing can be a huge international business. Apart from cartoon characters, our special IP also consists of musical elements and has been licensed to world-famous music mobile games such as Cytus II, Deemo and VOEZ. This gives me the opportunity to meet with local fans, as well as fans from other parts of the world including Taiwan and Japan,” she said.
The DLAB Hong Kong Pavilion at HKILS Online will feature a number of other original local brands, including SHIBAINC and Squly & Friends, helping to showcase local creativity. Several governments – including from Mainland China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan – will be promoting their own unique homegrown IPs at the event.
Pinkoi helps to promote cultural and creative brands
Originating from Taiwan, Pinkoi is a leading e-commerce platform that focuses on the sale of original design goods from Asia. It has attracted more than 20,000 regional designers and sells to 93 countries and regions, including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Thailand. In 2019, Pinkoi launched crossover projects with Hong Kong heritage brands and opened the Pinkoi SPACE in The Mills in Tsuen Wan, which provides a new online-to-offline retail business model. At the press conference, Cathy Tang, Pinkoi’s Deputy General Manager – Hong Kong and Macau, shared how cultural and creative brands are able to capture licensing opportunities through its e-tailing platform.
Conference examines market trends and industry outlook
ALC Online will offer four video-on-demand viewing channels, including “Expert Sharing: Culture and Arts”, “Expert Sharing: Digital Entertainment”, “Entrepreneur Dialogue” and “Licensing Academy”, allowing participants to view the full conference programme at their own convenience. Among the total of 40 speakers, representatives from The Andy Warhol Foundation and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will share on how they incorporate arts and culture IPs into lifestyle merchandise that permeates people’s everyday lives. Meanwhile, representatives from Activision Blizzard, the BBC, Banijay, BuzzFeed, KAKAO Friends and United Talent Agency will unveil the immense growth prospects and future development of licensing in areas such as gaming, e-sports, digital/social media, influencers and digital entertainment.
The “Entrepreneur Dialogue” Channel will present a new theme for the ALC programme. Six Asian entrepreneurs, engaged in sectors including digital entertainment, gaming/retail, designer toys, gifts and e-commerce, will share their success stories in making creative use of IPs to invent new businesses. The “Licensing Academy” Channel will provide eight online workshop episodes targeting newcomers to the licensing field, covering some of the basic concepts of licensing such as IP protection and royalty fee management.
Members of the media wishing to interview speakers, exhibitors or buyers can email interview requests to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details of both events, please visit www.licensing.hktdc.com.
To attend the above events, media representatives are required to pre-register to receive a confirmation email for accessing the fair and conference by completing the following registration form and emailing it to email@example.com.
Media Online Registration Form: http://mediaroom.hktdc.com/en/pressrelease/detail/20240/
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