Business Brisk at Hong Kong Show

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A record-breaking 11,162 visitors attended the Hong Kong Licensing Show, July 3-5, including more than 4,000 attendees from outside Hong Kong. Visitors from the Chinese mainland led the way, followed by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and Malaysia.

The show featured more than 300 brands and properties promoted by over 120 exhibitors from around the world. Exhibitors included YGM Trading, which promoted Michel René, Guy Laroche, and Charles Jourdan brands at the fair's new Lifestyle Pavilion.

"It was our debut appearance, and we received many enquiries about Michel René," says a YGM Trading spokesperson. "Our company used to focus on apparel, so our participation here gives us the opportunity of extending the brand into other categories, like sunglasses, watches, and bed linen."

Another exhibitor was BrandElite Licensing Ltd., an agent for a number of characters from Japan, Korea, Europe, and the United States. "We received numerous enquiries, and a number of deals are now under negotiation," says executive director Wennie Wong.

The automobile brand Mini, as well as cartoon characters the Shenbingkids, Postman Pat, and Katakune, was particularly well received, according to Wong. "This is our fourth year at the fair, and the quality of buyers continues to improve. We will be back next year," she says.

World Team Management Ltd., which owns the AC Milan and UEFA Euro 2008 licenses, exhibited for the first time at the show. The company produces a variety of items, including cups, watches, and stationery. "Most of our prospective buyers are interested in retail distribution, while some propose to extend our brands into areas such as spectacles and sporting goods," says marketing officer Grace Chiu, who adds that the show was effective in reaching potential partners and that the company would definitely return.

Another newcomer was Singapore's Global Brands Group Pte Ltd., which represents FIFA, the PGA, FIBA, FA England, Bum Equipment, and Chorion. Christie Chor, the company's assistant marketing manager, was pleased with the "enthusiastic enquiries" she received, noting that "some prospective deals are under review." She added that the show was an effective platform for exploring business opportunities in Asia, especially the Chinese mainland.

Many visitors came from the mainland, where the licensing industry is booming. "My major aim is to get acquainted with more international brands and explore partnership opportunities," says Shenzhen Dongxing Industrial Co. Ltd.'s general manager Wang Dong Xu. "The mainland falls short of market information about licensing, so this event is a very important channel for us to gather information."

Zhongshan Fuji Chemical's Liang Qiu Fang was equally impressed. "This is really eye-opening. There are so many brands and products here. It is very focused and the scale is huge. We do not have such shows in the mainland," she says.

And the Winners Are...

A mix of well-known local and international companies, licenses, and properties came up big at the show's Premier Asian Licensing Awards ceremony.

Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), this year's Premier Asian Licensing Awards received 176 applications from 10 countries and regions competing for six awards.

Among the winners, Giordano International Ltd. won Best Licensee Award with the Disney Collection. Global products director Janice Ngai said the company put in a great deal of effort to create a collection that fit each cartoon character's design characteristics. A comprehensive marketing campaign was launched to cater to the tastes of customers of all ages.

The MTR Corp. took home the Best Marketing Campaign in Hong Kong Award with its Keroro Gunso Travels on the MTR Souvenir Ticket promotion. "The award recognizes the efforts of all those who participated in the promotion," says marketing planning manager Annie Leung. "We caught the market trend and our target customers' tastes. Our posters, vast advertising network, and MTR Club enabled us to promote the products to our customers effectively."

The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) Ltd. picked up the Best New Property Award with Cars. Regional director, toys, consumer products, Asia Pacific region's S.K. Lee thanked Pixar Animation Studios for creating the movie and Mattel for producing the products. To date, more than 50 million licensed products from the movie have been sold worldwide.

The next Hong Kong Licensing Show will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in July 2008.

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