Speech by SCED at opening session of 6th Asian Licensing Conference (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening session of the 6th Asian Licensing Conference today (January 9):
Benjamin (Acting Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Mr Benjamin Chau), Tommy (Chairman of the HKTDC Design, Marketing and Licensing Services Advisory Committee, Mr Tommy Li), Mr Li (Deputy Director General of the Department of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of the Ministry of Culture, Mr Li Jiangang), ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am pleased to join you all at the 6th Asian Licensing Conference. My warmest welcome to everyone, especially to those who have travelled a long way to be here with us today.
We are all here to celebrate a great success story. In just six years, the Asian Licensing Conference has grown to become the largest of its kind in Asia. It is no exaggeration to say that the conference is now a must-attend event for the industry. This year, the conference has gathered more than 1 400 leading professionals representing global brands, licensees, agents and IP (intellectual property) trade intermediaries from around the world. This reflects the international significance of the conference and Hong Kong's role as a licensing hub for the burgeoning market of Asia.
As one of the most dynamic forms of IP trading, licensing helps businesses expand their client base and tap into new markets worldwide through ingenious and versatile arrangements. Licensing is also an integral part of branding, marketing and sales on many levels. Notably, entertainment licensing has enormous market potential.
Take movies for example. All eyes are now on Mainland China, which is forecasted by industry analysts to surpass North America as the world's biggest film market by 2019. We are seeing plenty of lucrative movie licensing and retail opportunities in and from this region. Over the past couple of years, Mainland companies have invested heavily in the global entertainment arena, creating a huge industry impact in areas such as financial investment, the movie pipeline, technology and merchandising content.
The Belt and Road Initiative will further fuel the entertainment and IP trade on the Asian, European and African continents connected by the twin corridors, and will generate immense demand for retail and licensing services in many years to come.
And an observable trend in entertainment licensing is the growing popularity of location-based and experiential entertainment, which helps consumers immerse in a brand and experience it on another level. IP owners certainly see the opportunities from the angles of brand building, business diversification and licensing. The latest investment in theme parks around the world, such as Legoland, Angry Birds Activity Park and Discovery Adventure Park, mirror this new wave of experiential entertainment.
Back here at home, our popular culture heritage is indeed a treasure trove waiting to be unlocked. From movies to comics to popular novels, we have rich creative content in store. I encourage our IP licensees and crossover ventures to take advantage of these hidden gems and unleash their economic value. Figurine merchandising, film and musical adaptations, mobile gaming, themed restaurants and product and service endorsements are just a few contemporary business models to name. Through licensing and crossover collaboration, industries with complementary strengths may partner with one another to provide competitive products and services of value, thereby attracting more customers, tapping into new markets and creating revenue streams for all sides. The possibilities know no bounds.
Ladies and gentlemen, this two-day conference covers a wide range of important issues. Through the sharing of insightful and constructive views among distinguished speakers, I am sure you will come up with innovative ideas to exploit the flourishing licensing opportunities across Asia.
I wish the conference another great success, and wish you all a prosperous and happy new year.
Ends/Monday, January 9, 2017