UK firm bullish on prospects in Chinese market as environment keeps improving
China's relentless efforts to combat piracy, especially in using technologies to identify and contain counterfeits, are set to incentivize global brand owners with new IP launches in China and enrich the nation's entertainment market, industry insiders said.
China has achieved "great improvement" in IP protection and generated some of the world-pioneering practices in fighting such piracy, said Tim Pfeiffer, senior vice-president of Business Affairs for the Family & Brands division at Entertainment One UK Ltd, the company that owns the popular Peppa Pig brand and its related trademarks.
"We have worked closely with our licensees in the last two years, established quite a lot of direct cooperation to combat on piracy and had numerous successes," Pfeiffer told China Daily on the sidelines of the ongoing China International Licensing Expo that runs through Friday.
In an increasingly piracy-free environment, Pfeiffer believes the wider recognition of Entertainment One's ownership of Peppa Pig is "ground breaking" and serves as a boon to business confidence.
"China is among our fastest growing markets in terms of licensing ... we are taking the global debut of latest cartoon series Ricky Zoom to China," he said.
One particularly effective approach to combat piracy is through the use of technology.
Under the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, the company is working with the Chinese internet giant to identify counterfeits in a preemptive approach, utilizing algorithms to identify and remove such items before they can even get on the e-commerce platform.
"Obviously this is something we find extremely helpful because .... even when the fake products are manufactured, they cannot be sold into the market," he said.
The pair also collaborated on information sharing, with Alibaba providing the details of the violators so that Entertainment One can proceed on investigating further, file lawsuits and take other necessary steps to contain and fight piracy.
"Such an approach has really proven to be pioneering in the field .... and it's the best way to get rid of piracy," he said.
Other novel measures to combat piracy in China include the introduction of the Internet Court, which has allowed the country to better adapt to the digital environment and emerging trends such as the sharing economy.
Pfeiffer made his remarks following an order issued by the Beijing Internet Court to car-sharing platform Beijing Togo Technology Co Ltd to stop its infringement of the Peppa Pig trademark. The court also fined the company 500,000 yuan ($70,561) for using Peppa Pig content without authorization.
"'Convenient, fast and intelligent' describes the process of this litigation case. The modular design of the entire process allows complex litigation processes to be understood at a glance," he said, adding the court employed a variety of methods, such as online broadcast and promotion through WeChat accounts, to make the process linear and transparent.
Those sentiments were echoed by Wang Junfeng, China general manager of Canadian toy and entertainment manufacturer Spin Master.
He said China's growing emphasis on IP protection and understanding of cultural nuances are working to "catapult the market to the global forefront of innovation in the field".
Fueled in part by the improving IP environment, toy exports of China jumped 16.7 percent during January to August from year earlier levels, showing a much more robust growth pattern than the average export reading of 6.1 percent, the China Toy and Juvenile Products Association said on Wednesday.