22 Feb 2012
Established in 1923, Hasbro is among the world’s top toy and game makers, with such classic brands as Monopoly and Transformers. To expand its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region, Hasbro last month exhibited for the first time at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Licensing Fair.
Dorothy Chan heads the Licensing Department of Hasbro Asia Pacific. Since taking over the position in 2010, she has developed merchandise and promotional programmes for the company’s brands in the region. In Six Questions, she talks about the company’s recent effortss to enter the digital market.
How is Hasbro branching into licensing?
We started our licensing programme five years ago and have since launched three Transformers movies, which enjoy high recognition among consumers. We’ve also entered into TV programming in the United States, where we have our own studio and television networks. Hasbro TV programmes are aired in more than 140 countries, including in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
Why did Hasbro exhibit at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show?
The Hong Kong International Licensing Show is one of the world’s best licensing fairs. Joining the Hong Kong show gives us a bigger platform to meet our licensing partners in apparel, home items, stationery and publishing. This is a good opportunity for us to showcase our brand content and licensing programmes to visitors from around the world.
What are some of the licensing arrangements Hasbro has in place in Asia?
We have developed various licensing products in Asia to support our brand content. Our main area is in traditional licensing, where you see our products in apparel, footwear, home items, stationery and publishing. The second area, which we want to further develop, is consumer entertainment content. We have a very strong movie partner to produce our movies, including Transformers, GI Joe and Battleship. And the third, which is going to be a much bigger business for us in the future, is entering our brand into the digital world. Today, you can get Hasbro’s content, including Transformers, Monopoly and My Little Pony, in the digital world. You can get them from apps and from the Android using the iPad, iPhone or other platforms available. Our objective is to promote the Hasbro licensing programme to allow consumers access to enjoy our brand anywhere, any time and any way they want.
What’s your assessment of the Asian licensing market, particularly the Chinese mainland?
When we look at the economic growth in developed countries, such as the United States or Europe, we see that the Asian market has greater potential for expansion for our business. Today, our business goes well beyond toy stores. We have expanded into consumer and digital products. Asia is a growing market with plenty of room to grow, particularly in China, where consumers are much more sophisticated and open-minded. Apart from the potential of rising consumer power, the country’s economic expansion will also help boost business.
How does Hasbro plan to develop licensing in emerging markets?
The Asian market is an important market to us. It is a region that we are expanding in at a fast rate. We never slow down at Hasbro. We continue to build more immersive entertainment content for consumers and to introduce TV programmes to the Asian market. We respond to our licensees in time and offer flexible business methods to achieve a win-win situation.
We see promotional programmes as an important vehicle for sharing our content. It is essential to build an emotional connection with consumers. We just recently finished our Monopoly promotion with McDonald’s, our strategic partner in Asia. One upcoming promotion we have is Mr and Mrs Potato Head. They’re celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary this year. We will also continue promoting our biggest brand, Transformers, and NERF. We will have more event and stage shows that will tell our brand story to consumers.
What role does Hong Kong play in tapping the Asian licensing market?
We see Hong Kong as a strategic location. In terms of travel time, you can go into any major market in Asia. High-quality retail set up, image and segmentation, such as specialty stores, shopping malls, department stores, makes Hong Kong a great showcase for brands.