Speech by SCIT (Eng only)
Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the Second Premier Asian Licensing Awards Presentation Gala Dinner this (July 6) evening: (English only)
Charles, Fred, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to attend tonight's gala dinner and to present the Second Premier Asian Licensing Awards.
The licensing business in our region is developing rapidly. We see licensed properties all around us in our daily life. Licensing, as an alternative to branding, enables business to move up the value chain, and supports the development of various service industries, including design, marketing, legal and arbitration services.
There are many uncharted areas and unprecedented licensing opportunities in the Asian region, especially in the Mainland, the world's largest growing market. The upcoming key international events in the Mainland, including the Olympic Games and the World Expo, will provide tremendous opportunities for the licensing industry.
To help seize these valuable business opportunities, Hong Kong offers a favorable environment for licensing operations to flourish. Let me just cite a few examples - we have a trendy and sophisticated population offering a good testbed of market trend; our legal system is well-developed and we provide a world-class centre for dispute resolution; and there is a large pool of professional talents in various fields, from legal, accounting, design to finance and marketing.
In addition, we have an intellectual property rights (IPR) protection regime. Given the advance in technology, we also review our IPR laws constantly to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective. In this, we have just announced a package of preliminary proposals to further improve our copyright protection regime.
Our legal framework is backed up by vigorous enforcement actions against IPR infringements at all levels, including import and export, manufacture, distribution and retail. Hong Kong Customs has a dedicated team of some 400 officers to combat IPR offences. This is in addition to the 2,000-odd officers stationed at all Customs control points to guard against the import and export of contraband, including pirated and counterfeiting goods. To ensure that we are employing the best possible enforcement strategies, Customs works closely with right holders to detect the presence of infringements so that prompt actions can be taken.
To cultivate a culture of respect for intellectual property rights in our community, we have put in place an on-going and focused public education programme. One publicity activity is the "No Fakes" pledge that the Intellectual Property Department re-launched last year. Under this scheme, retailers pledge that all their products offered on sale are genuine. As of end May 2005, there were more than 620 retail merchants with over 4,100 retail outlets participating in the scheme.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Hong Kong is an ideal place for international licensors and licensing agents to expand their regional network, in particular to the Mainland. CEPA further strengthens the business opportunities that we can offer. Many multi-national companies have already identified Hong Kong as their foothold for developing their licensing operations in the region, and we believe that more will join the list in future.
Before closing, I wish to congratulate TDC for organizing this successful Licensing Show for the fourth year. The show has become the largest licensing fair in Asia, and that will certainly help promote Hong Kong's status as the premier licensing hub in the region. I understand that the Show features more than 250 licensed brands and properties this year.
Last but not least, I would like to congratulate all the nominees and award winners of the Second Premier Asian Licensing Awards on their outstanding achievements in the licensing business, and wish all of them every success in their future endeavors.
Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Issued at HKT 19:17