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Mainland Licensing Market Holds Great Potential 2008 Beijing Olympics Offers Host of Opportunities

Managing Director of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) (UK Office) Mr. Andrew Levy
Marketing Manager of Daynice International Mr.Samuel Chan
Senior director of Business Development of NBA Asia Mr. Phil Hayes-Brown
Director of Licensing (Asia) of IMG Mr. Fred Thompson
Deputy Director of the Marketing Department of the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee Ms Yuan Bin
Country Director (PRC) for Consumer Products of The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) Miss Dorothy Chan

Hong Kong will become a platform for licensing business in the mainland, says industry players and experts from the licensing sector at a seminar held on July 24.

Leading licensing professionals shared their insights on the latest global industry trends and discussed opportunities in the mainland market including the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the Regional Licensing Conference 2003 organised by the TDC last Thursday. The topic of the conference was "Hong Kong - Your Premier Platform for Licensing Business in the Chinese Mainland".

Managing Director of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) (UK Office) Mr. Andrew Levy points out that the quality of licensed properties have improved and their marketing strategy evolved significantly since the licensing business began in the early 1990s. Globalisation, coupled with cross-media/sector promotion through various channels such as TV, Internet and even fast food chains have fuelled the rapid growth of licensing business around the world.

Consumers are becoming more receptive towards licensed merchandise recently. Industry players are therefore encouraged to venture into the development of new licensed properties (cartoon characters).

Hong Kong-based Daynice International developed "Pork Chop & Friends" in the early 1990s. Its licensed properties are marketed around the world and available at specialty shops in Hong Kong. Its marketing manager Mr.Samuel Chan said "Pork Chop & Friends" successfully appealed to the consumers mainly because of its warm touch, cute appearance and effective marketing strategy.

Localised promotion strategy is the key of success for NBA Asia in bringing the American basketball game to the Asian market. Senior director of business development Mr. Phil Hayes-Brown said NBA began by building a critical mass of TV audience in Asia through broadcasting the matches. It then went on to form long-term partnerships with licensees and advertising sponsors around the world to boost its recognition, followed by worldwide publicity campaigns to reinforce its approachable image.

The popularity of Chinese basketball player Yao Ming has won numerous fans for NBA in the Chinese mainland. The success not only demonstrates the effectiveness of NBA's China strategy but also underlines the excellent prospects of sports licensing in Asia. Mr. Fred Thompson, Director of Licensing (Asia), IMG, the world's largest sports promotion organisation, said with the people's rising income and growing interest in sports in the region, sports licensing has enormous growth potential. In particular, the 2008 Beijing Olympics presents a golden opportunity for all licensing parties.

Ms Yuan Bin, Deputy Director of the Marketing Department of the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, said Hong Kong companies were welcome to participate in the market development plan of the Games. The advantages of Hong Kong companies such as innovative product design and excellent quality could complement mainland suppliers, she said, adding that the market development plan will be announced in Beijing on 1 September.

Although intellectual property right protection (IPR) remains an issue in China, Miss Dorothy Chan, Country Director (PRC) for Consumer Products of The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific), reckoned that mainland authorities had already stepped up measures to clamp down on counterfeited goods and were keeping in close contact with licensors. As a result, IPR is better protected in the mainland than before. Walt Disney first entered the mainland market 17 years ago. Currently, it works with 80 licensees to produce a wide range of licensed properties locally based on 20 Walt Disney cartoon characters. The company has been reporting double-digit sales growth every year.

The seminar is also available on tdctrade.com, please visit http://webcast.tdctrade.com/030724_02/e.htm to view the video clips.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council