Hong Kong Cements Lead as IP Hub
As Chinese businesses see the importance of intellectual property amid the nation's continued restructuring of its economy, Hong Kong's role as an IP trading hub and the "super-connector" between the mainland and the world will expand, said the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
The fifth Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum was held in Hong Kong last week. IP trading refers to the buying, selling and transferring of IP rights under mutually agreed terms.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said at the forum that Hong Kong's outstanding business environment, robust IP protection system and its role as China's "super-connector" will help promote the city as a regional IP trading hub.
Mainland enterprises have filed more than one-third of global patent applications, accounting for 60 percent of the total number of applications in Asia, said Raymond Yip, HKTDC deputy executive director.
"Mainland companies are seeing tremendous demand for IP trading," Yip said, noting that with the imminent launch of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), technology and innovation will be the main theme of the country's economic development over the next five years.
Hong Kong, endowed with extensive business connections, a sound legal system, a cluster of IP owners and intermediaries as well as a robust financial market, is poised to be the ideal IP trading platform in Asia.
Film industry leaders at an Asia Leadership Roundtable forum urged the mainland movie industry to gear up for an intellectual property protection drive so that it can reap the benefits of a diversified revenue stream when movie content crosses over to different new media.
"Being a gateway to the Chinese mainland and by extension, to the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong is in a unique position of facilitating the traffic of IP-sharing exchange between the East and the West," said Zhou Li, publisher and editor-in-chief at China Daily Asia Pacific.
The Chinese mainland is poised to overtake the United States as the world's largest film market by 2017 and its market revenue is expected to grow by 20 times from 2004 to 2014, said Michael C. Ellis, president and managing director for the Asia-Pacific region at the Motion Picture Association.
"The Chinese mainland's film market is too big to ignore," he said.
However, while 89 percent of mainland movie companies' revenue comes from box-office takings, this is not the case in Hollywood, as US filmmakers can generate income from different sources including franchising and licensing, Ellis noted.
"Movie companies should think long-term how IP protection can provide income in the future," said Jason Goldberg, a partner at law firm Covington & Burling LLP and leader of the firm's entertainment, sports and media practice in China.
The panelists also expressed confidence that Hong Kong can act as a bridge between the mainland movie industry and Hollywood.
"In the future, there will be opportunities for the Hong Kong movie industry to work closely with the mainland movie industry to bring Chinese movies to the world. I really believe, in the next five years, there will also be opportunities for big Chinese IP to go out to the world," said April Ye, chief executive officer at Film Finances Inc China.
(Source: China Daily)