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A Conversation on Licensing with Andy Wang, Director, Brand Licensing, at LMCA Asia – Part 1

Andy Wang, Director of Licensing at LMCA Asia, sat down to talk with us about his experience in licensing, the nuances of licensing in China, and the expertise and approach required to successfully extend a brand into Asia in Part 1 of our conversation.

Andy, how long have you been in licensing?  What made you choose the licensing industry as your career path?

I have been in licensing for nearly 4 years now. I liked business development, marketing, brand management, and I saw licensing as a strategic tool that can enhance brand value.

 

How do you feel licensing is unique in Asia as opposed to other parts of the world?

 

Brand licensing still is very new in Asia/China. Lots of people and companies don’t know much about it as a business tool.  It is a new and different way for brand development and business growth, and can be very powerful for licensors and licensees. Because licensing is still relatively new in Asia/China, licensing development and management is a multifaceted operation. It’s not just about signing a deal, it’s about developing a deep cooperation and alliance that’s right for the brand. Accordingly, a successful licensing program requires a high level brand but also strong business management.

What are some of the obstacles faced when licensing in Asia?

Concept Education – There still needs to be an education on the licensing model in Asia/China. The greater awareness licensing has, the more people will understand the benefits and competitive advantages of licensing.

Eliminate prejudice – Lots of consumers in China/Asia still don’t believe in licensing and have doubts about the quality or competitiveness of licensed products. They still think direct businesses are real products from the brand owner, but licensed products are somehow subpar. This is not correct, and also not the truth. Whether a brand owner/licensor does business themselves or partners with an experienced third party/licensee, their decision is still based on their own resources, competitive edge and strategic choice.  Smart brands always choose the most efficient and cost-effective way to develop quality products/services and sometimes partnering with an expert partner that has resources or expertise you may not have is the best option.

 

What unique approach or expertise is needed to overcome obstacles in the region?

 

These obstacles require a deep understanding of local markets and situations, industry trends, and market research. It requires executive level sales and business development capabilities, knowing the business well and having superior partnership management.  When working with brands in Asia, we look to conduct a professional brand image review and positioning that determines the best categories that are good for licensing development.

Also, finding high quality and the right partner/licensee and evaluating and screening them is very important – it’s the core foundation for a successful licensing program.  Having licensees that respect the brand guidelines and management and want to closely work together with the licensor’s team is crucial.


Andy has over 14 years of business development experience in China across a wide range of industrial and consumer products. His specialties include sales and business development, licensee support and partnership management. Andy holds an MBA from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
 
To learn more about licensing in Asia visit www.lmca.net/grow-your-brand-in-asia/. Stay tuned for Part 2 of a Conversation on Licensing, where Andy will discuss the benefits having a brand presence in Asia and what he is most anticipating with the future of licensing in Asia.

 

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