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Licensing Show creates cross-industry business opportunities


Licensing industry players from around the world gathered in Hong Kong, reinforcing the city’s role as a leading IP trading hub.


April welcomed the return of the HKTDC’s long-standing Hong Kong International Licensing Show (HKILS), which drew over 320 exhibitors and showcased an extensive array of more than 550 brands and licensing projects.

At the concurrent Asian Licensing Conference (ALC), some 30 global licensing leaders engaged in dialogue on the industry’s hot topics, including the ever-evolving global industry trends, the emergence of new forces in licensing and innovative marketing strategies. ALC also highlighted legal risks brought about by generative AI and the sustainable development of IP licensing.

The two events provided a platform for business development across regions and industries, creating business opportunities for participants and promoting the development of IP trading in the region.

As an international business hub and sourcing platform, Hong Kong has been a trading centre for all types of IPs for many years, helping promote the development of IP trading across the region. Licensing is an important part of IP trading and Hong Kong is one of the most developed and mature licensing markets in Asia.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan sets out the role of Hong Kong in the country’s overall development in eight key areas that present tremendous growth and opportunities. This includes positioning Hong Kong as a regional IP trading centre.

HKILS launched a new initiative, Reimagining the Classics, which showcases the fusion of creative IP projects with established brands in Hong Kong. Forging strategic licensing partnerships has become a crucial means to breathe new life into these iconic brands. Leveraging the HKILS platform, the initiative aims to reignite imagination for these timeless brands.

The Design Licensing and Business Support Scheme featured 45 local brands at HKILS. Plastic Thing Limited, a Hong Kong-based company specialising in IP licensing, showcased their acclaimed IP MS FATTY, which has frequently collaborated with renowned institutions and shopping malls.

Yip Kim Kwan, Director of Plastic Thing Limited, said they have received numerous inquiries from potential buyers and are already in discussions for collaborations. "The responses from buyers have been very positive, and we are currently following up on the details."

Hong Kong serves as a bridge for the licensing industry in the world. Witnessing a surge in local brand development and licensing projects, the city has also attracted numerous international licensors and licensing agents to set up offices in Hong Kong. Renowned global licensors have also been keen to partner with Hong Kong-based licensing agents, leveraging their expertise to unlock business opportunities across Asia.

Shusaku Watanabe, Manager of Chocolate Inc., a buyer from Japan, appreciated the HKIL business platform. He said: “Through business matching services arranged by HKTDC, I met and identified a variety of new IPs from Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. I am going to explore collaboration with them for the Japanese market.”

The importance of art and cultural licensing is an undeniable global trend. Museum-inspired creative products utilising cultural assets have become significant business opportunities globally in recent years.

The Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism has rich and diverse intangible cultural heritage and at HKILS showcased more than 100 IP licensing projects, with some of its exhibitors having reached licensing deals with an amount of more than RMB3 million (US$414,000).

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