Published on : Thursday, January 5, 2017
The world’s second-largest and Asia’s largest event of its kind, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show (9-11 January) and Asian Licensing Conference (9-10 January) will kick off next week to showcase licensing opportunities in Asia. Both events are organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
Digital age and Belt and Road Initiative create new licensing opportunities
The licensing industry has seen robust growth and diversification in recent years, uncovering boundless business opportunities for different industries.
Citing a report by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), Raymond Yip, Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC, said global retail sales of licensed goods totalled US$251.7 billion in 2015, up 4.2 per cent year-on-year. Of these, US$27.4 billion, or 10.89 per cent, came from Asia, an increase of 7.45 per cent over the previous year. The Chinese mainland is Asia’s second-largest licensing market, recording US$7.22 billion in sales of licensing products in 2015, a significant increase of 23.8 per cent from US$5.83 billion in 2014. The surge was more than five times as much as the global growth of 4.2 per cent, reflecting the vibrancy of Asia’s licensing market.
In today’s digital age, the rise of the Internet, smart phones and new media, as well as the proliferation of digital entertainment and gaming brands have accelerated the development of the licensing industry. Asia is particularly receptive to technological innovation. In 2015, the region’s smart phone users accounted for half of the world’s total; its mobile network coverage reached 45 per cent and its retail e-commerce market was the world’s largest. On the Chinese mainland, the number of Internet users has reached 710 million, over 90 per cent of whom are smart phone users, making the mainland the world’s largest Internet and mobile gaming market. With China’s 13th Five-Year Plan placing great emphasis on the development of technology and innovation, the growth of Asia’s licensing market is expected to accelerate in the digital era.
“Hong Kong is internationally known for its sound intellectual property protection, independent judiciary and its deep pool of global IP professionals. These factors make Hong Kong not only Asia’s licensing hub, but also an excellent strategic base for companies and brands to promote their licensing business,” said Mr Yip. “In fact, our professionals are engaged in a broad range of fields. Our brand agents, for example, are familiar with the Asian market and have a global vision. They can provide efficient intermediary services. With the support of these brand agents, the development of the licensing industry in Hong Kong and the region are set to become ever more vibrant.”
Mr Yip added that the China-led Belt and Road Initiative is expected to inject new impetus into the global economy. Among the 60-plus countries and regions along the Belt and Road, Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, India and Singapore are fast-developing licensing markets, with average annual growth of more than 20 per cent in 2015, despite each still accounting for less than 0.5 per cent of the total global sales of licensing products. As a “super-connector” for the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong can assist related countries and regions to advance their licensing industries, Mr Yip said.