Inaugural Licensing Expo China Ends on High Note

The inaugural Licensing Expo China featured a retail tour, awards ceremony, educational seminars, a raft of deal-making and more.

The inaugural Licensing Expo China took place in Shanghai, July 18-20, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. The event, which is organized by UBM Licensing and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, was co-located with Children Baby Maternity Expo (CBME) China, the world's largest trade fair for baby products and services, and Cool Kids Fashion Shanghai, a trade fair for kids' fashion.

The new trade show connected some of the most influential art, fashion, entertainment, character and corporate brand owners and agents with consumer goods manufacturers, licensees and retailers from all product categories across China.

This year, the show featured more than 250 brands and properties from China and overseas including Click! Licensing Asia, Fantawild Animation, Beijing Dream Castle Culture Co., Animation International (Shanghai), Hasbro Trading (China) Co., Medialink (Shanghai) Co., Mattel, Soap Studio Company, China Brands Group and Familyyout, among many others.

Licensing Expo China kicked off with a Retail Tour on July 17 (prior to show opening), that brought together executives from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and China as they visited some of Shanghai's major retailers like Babymax, a 300-store retail chain for children and baby maternity products, and Lotus, a major Chinese hypermarket chain that carries a wide range of products, including full grocery lines and general merchandise. The tour also journeyed to downtown Shanghai to visit the Joy City Shopping Mall, and visited licensed retail stores such as Paul Frank, NBA Store, DC Comics Super Heroes Store, Mein Friends and the CAT Store, among others.

Throughout Licensing Expo China, a series of forums, lectures and workshops dedicated to highlighting and bringing knowledge to important issues surrounding the licensing business in Asia took place. The education series opened the event with a keynote address by Kermid Rahman, vice president and general manager, consumer products and interactive, The Walt Disney Company, titled "The Power of Disney's Franchise Licensing Business."

Other topics on the agenda included an overview of opportunities within licensing, hosted by Charles Riotto, president, LIMA; a panel on the Chinese film market, that featured executives from DreamWorks, DMG Motion Picture Group and International Entertainment; a conversation about game licensing with Rovio's Vincent Ye, vice president; a panel that touched on licensing lifestyle properties in the country with executives from China Brands Group, Brandgenuity, SEMK Products, and Enzo e Partners; a workshop that dived into how licensors choose properties for international markets that featured insights from executives at Mattel and ZenWorks; and much, much more.

Licensing Expo China also hosted the first China Licensing Awards, July 18. Held in conjunction with LIMA, the awards recognized the outstanding achievements of companies with licensing properties in China.

The winners were: Alpha Group Co. for Best China Property for "Super Wings," as well as Best Character/Film/Television/Entertainment Property; McDonald's for Best Licensed Promotion for Angry Birds Movie; Saban Brands for Best Corporate Brand/Fashion/Lifestyle Program for Paul Frank; Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf for Best Location-Based or Experiential Initiative for Goat Steps; CBC Original Culture (Shanghai) for Best Licensee for its work with Paul Frank; and TMall.com for Best Retailer for its work with Barbie.

Licensing Expo China 2018 will take place July 25-27, again in Shanghai.

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