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Hong Kong: A Springboard for Brand-building in Asia

December 9, 2016 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

The Hong Kong International Franchising Show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), has concluded successfully. This second edition of the International Franchising Show, gathered more than 100 exhibitors from various industries and different regions, many of whom were keen to connect with new partners to expand their business.

Traditional noodles restaurant crafts fresh business opportunities

Since its founding 20 years ago, Man Guan Wang has remained a family-style business, which specialises in handmade noodles. At present, Mang Guan Wang has four outlets with two craftsmen trained in the art of making noodles at each outlet. The restaurant’s three business development managers Ma Kung-leong, Yuen Mau-sang and Wong Cheuk-kit noted that handmade knife-cut noodles are becoming a rarity, and the craft may be lost completely if the restaurant does not change its business model.

low_hktdc161207In the face of changing global consumption patterns, the company sees e-commerce as a way to reduce operating costs and direct more budget to food and beverage items. This, they believe, points to positive prospects for the food and beverage industry. Man Guan Wang joined the Hong Kong International Franchising Show this year aiming to expand its business through franchising. Mr Wong remarked that many clients at the show expressed interest in partnering with his company. “They enquired about Man Guan Wang’s products and details of franchising. Some clients said they had dined at our restaurant and were impressed by our noodles. When we discussed franchising, we clicked right away.” He added that many overseas visitors at the show were also interested in becoming a franchisee.

The three mangers praised the HKTDC’s Business Matching service at the show, through which they managed to find a potential client from Indonesia. “The client is very interested in becoming a franchisee. They are serious about the business and pay attention to the finer details, like the delivery of ingredients to Indonesia and staff training. This client owns an extensive business of six food and beverage companies in the country. We believe that a partnership will materialise, and our brand will go beyond the Hong Kong market,” said Mr Wong.

He also noted that the restaurant had succeeded in attracting potential clients from Singapore, Thailand and the Chinese mainland during the event, with the majority of them being from the mainland. “To complement our development in the mainland, Mang Guan Wang will instill elements of the Hong Kong-style tea restaurant into its mainland outlets, attracting more clients to the franchise through creativity.” The managers stressed that the restaurant’s participation in the show helped enhance its brand profile and visibility, which is conducive to its long-term development. “Our presence in the show also gives clients more confidence in our business, and we will participate again next year,” Mr Wong said.

European football training system set to score in Asia through franchising

Jason Lanscar, Asia Pacific Director of overseas exhibitor Coerver Coaching, said the company joined the International Franchising Show to capitalise on Hong Kong’s prime location as a gateway to major cities on the Chinese mainland and other countries in the Asia Pacific.

He explained that the Coerver system was launched 33 years ago, and the franchise would suit entrepreneurs who wish to break into the football business, or change their business model. At present, the system is mainly used for soccer skills training for children and youngsters between the ages of three and 16. The system’s client base spans more than 40 countries and regions, mostly in Europe and North America. “There are a small number of users in the Asia Pacific, and there is considerable room for growth for the system in regions like Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as in India.”

Mr Lanscar added that while the Chinese mainland is a huge potential market, franchising application involves complicated procedures on the mainland, which makes Hong Kong an ideal springboard to enter the market. The company sought to increase its visibility by taking part in the Hong Kong International Franchising Show. “It’s our first time participating in the show, and we think it’s very well organised and systematic. Since our participation was confirmed in June, we have received excellent support, and communication has been effective. Everything has been very smooth.” He also noted that the company entered into discussions with a number of clients from Guangzhou and Shenzhen during the show. Seeing the satisfactory results from its participation in this year’s show, Mr Lanscar said, “We hope to incorporate more marketing and sales services from Hong Kong into our promotions, like connecting our brand with local football education to maximise benefit.”

Mainland chain to go global through Hong Kong

Man Hung-kei, vice president of mainland shoe manufacturer Unity Group (HK) Ltd., said that the company plans to open 500 new stores next year. By joining the show, it hopes to develop its business in Hong Kong and promote its brand worldwide.

The company launched its Xinjuan shoes brand three years ago. It currently has 230 outlets in first-tier and second-tier mainland cities, and its net income is expected to reach over Rmb120 million. Mr Man said, “There are many clients at the show who were interested in the beautiful yet practical Xinjuan shoes. We are in talks with one of these clients about a potential partnership to make Xinjuan shoes available for sale at airports in the mainland and Hong Kong. This is a unique opportunity and a surprise reward from our participation in the show this time.”

He stressed that taking part in the Franchising Show also created investment opportunities. “There is another client from Vietnam who owns a fashion brand with nationwide stores, and which does not have a shoe brand. At the show the client and our company made plans for further discussions. There is a strong chance they will become our brand’s authorised distributor in Vietnam,” he said. Mr Man added that the show complemented the company’s mission of “From the Mainland to Hong Kong to Worldwide”.

“We hope to use the HKTDC’s show as a platform and Hong Kong as a springboard to promote our business around the world,” Mr Man said. “Our company hopes to create our own China Brand by utilising the HKTDC’s global view and product promotion, and promote this China Brand to the world.” He commended the HKTDC for its outstanding support services. “In just a few days, we were approached by clients from Guangzhou, Guizhou, Chongqing, Guangxi, Hangzhou, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. We are very pleased with the results.”

In search of diverse opportunities

The Franchising Show also welcomed many visitors looking for new business opportunities. Jeffrey Choy, business development manager of Coolzines, said, “We are looking for opportunities in F&B. We are open to both Chinese and Western cuisines, and we will compare the brands, their products and the support they offer. We are interested in both franchising and distribution.”

Lau Lei-ping, associate manager of global research and development, Kanger International (HK), said, “Our company’s business is centred on baby products, and we are looking for foreign brands with fun and creative designs at the show.”

ADO Production (HK) producer Chan Chu-kwong runs a Chinese medicine clinic. He said: “I am looking to see if there is any franchise we can join to expand our customer base, and to provide more choices in health products and medical services for our existing members.” He said he had entered into discussions with an enterprise from Taiwan during the fair.

The Hong Kong International Franchising Show was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 1 to 3 December, alongside the HKTDC World SME Expo.

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