Hong Kong aspires to become a regional intellectual property market
Growing globalisation of IP Intellectual Property trading activities and increasing IP supply and demand in Asia are calling for a greater need of regional IP intermediaries, performing multiple roles as an IP management hub, marketing and sourcing platform and support services provider. For this market Hong Kong aspires to become a regional centre according to HKTDC Hong Kong Trade Development Corporation Research
What is IP trading? Generally, it entails buying, selling and transferring of IP rights through a standard or customised agreement to allow IP acquires to use IP under mutually agreed conditions. On the other hand, IP trading represents a sort of a loose concept due to the enormous complexity of IP, high degree of customisation of IP rights sold and its huge diversity in the modes of transaction and the intangibility of IP.
In the past, Hong Kong has been already a regional marketplace of IP trading such as copyright trade, licensing and franchising, technology transfer and design services. These transactions co-existed for a long time, however now they are bundled under the broader banner of “IP trade”.
Hong Kong disposes also a pillared legal and IP regime and there are top-rated services and financial resources, but there are emerging competitors but especially overseas companies are looking for a single hub for both the Greater China and Southeast Asian markets, and there Hong Kong seems ideally placed. Hong Kong hopes to attract more overseas companies to set up regional headquarters in Hong Kong and to boost the city’s entire IP economy, spanning from IP creation to IP exploitation.
Where Hong Kong is trying to reach out
Hong Kong would like to face up to countries like the U.S.A. and Japan, those offering one of the most sophisticated markets for IP trade and services.
It is indisputable that Hong Kong is in proximity to the Chinese Mainland, and this is probably a USP unique selling point. In addition, Hong Kong is trying to focus on the multiple roles it is assuming, namely a regional marketing and sourcing platform such as master licensee and a supplier of support services and as legal and financing services.
In comparison with Singapore and other Mainland cities, Hong Kong is aspiring to be the leading regional hub for both the Greater China and Southeast Asian markets, Hong Kong deploys its strengths of location and IP ecosystem. Therefore, Hong Kong is prepared to serve not only overseas companies looking for a single hub for these markets, but also Mainland China’s firms looking for a springboard to go overseas.
Hong Kong offers the required soft infrastructure and creates certainly a good business environment for overseas companies dealing with IP. Moreover it hosts regional headquarters of many overseas companies, international buyers and professional intermediaries. It can be concluded, that overseas IP owners having a strong interest in entering the Asian markets, can readily take advantage of Hong Kong as their first stop, set up a regional headquarter and expand and manage their IP related business in Asia.
Assisting overseas companies
Overseas IP owners do not have sufficient resources to expand into the Asian market on their own. Therefore Hong Kong institutions should be more proactive in bringing them to Asia, particularly the Chinese Mainland, to assist minimise their financial burden and risks. For the time being, Hong Kong specialised companies can act as agents for IP owners in Asia, exporting their IP to overseas markets.
It is true that immature IP intermediary and management services in many Asian counties generate also business opportunities for Hong Kong by offering high value added services and solutions, such as branding consultancy and IP management to Asian companies. Hong Kong enjoys the privilege to offer an extensive understanding and knowledge of the Asian markets by providing IP customization and market intelligence services to overseas companies coming from industrialised or other Asian countries.
Hong Kong has a tradition of highly sophisticated and specialised services also in IP enforcement and against IP infringements, and offers an excellent geographical location, as well it is ready to extend itself as a regional IP hub. But of course, the environment for the time being is very competitive. But TextileFuture believes that many overseas companies make rather use of Hong Kong’s long standing experience and outstanding service culture, and they will choose Hong Kong as the place to deal with Asian IP business. In addition, also Chinese companies would probably prefer using Hong Kong as a stepping stone for their growing overseas business entailing also IP activities. Hong Kong is also at least bi-lingual (English and Mandarin), but there are also other languages spoken in the region and mastered by qualified Hong Kong staff. Hong Kong is an entrusted hub for services and a preferred location by overseas companies, rather than to implant themselves with their IP service needs in the neighbouring countries. Hong Kong is also cost effective in a competitive IP world and is most experienced in special assisting services, including qualified staff. There are many reasons at the end of the day, that Hong Kong will have the opportunity to become a regional IP hub for IP trade and services.