Trade show on franchising kicks off virtually for first time

An annual trade show that brings together the franchising and licensing community kicked off yesterday, going virtual for the first time in its 15-year history.

Organised by Sphere Exhibits, the Franchising and Licensing Asia (FLA) exhibition brings together businesses, entrepreneurs and investors from countries such as China, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

President of FLA Singapore Andrew Khoo said: "Having a virtual show opens up possibilities that never existed before.

"We are no longer restricted by geography as the entire world is now the target audience."

Some brands looking to expand their franchise network include European yogurt brand Yole, French contemporary furniture manufacturer Gautier and Singapore restaurant operator Tung Lok Group.

This year's iteration has 53 exhibitors and 77 international brands participating.

Businesses hail from the food and beverage, beauty and wellness and health and fitness sectors, among others.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said: "Franchising and licensing are key modes of internationalisation that can help companies capture growth opportunities, expand and diversify revenue streams.

"This is critical in making businesses more resilient to the unforeseen uncertainties caused by the pandemic."

Noting that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed on Sunday will smoothen the trade in goods and services and the flow of foreign investments, she hoped that these advantages would usher in more franchising and licensing opportunities for home-grown companies.

During the three-day trade show, participants will be able to attend webinars on intellectual property and the legal aspects of franchising.

Other topics include food and beverage trends, pitfalls to avoid when signing a franchise contract and reasons for investing in a franchise during a pandemic.

Attendees with queries about franchising and licensing can pose them to brand representatives via live text and video chats during the virtual event. Attendance is free.

Webinars will be recorded and available to attendees on the website until Dec 20.

Sphere Exhibits is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2020, with the headline 'Trade show on franchising kicks off virtually for first time'. Print Edition | Subscribe