Franchising Heats up Hong Kong Expo

Franchising leaders led a high-profile IFA delegation to Hong Kong Dec. 1-3 for the World SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Expo– an annual exhibition drawing businesses from across Asia. IFA members including Subway, Anytime Fitness, Home Instead Senior Care, and Edwards Global Services, representing Denny’s, The Melting Pot, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Round Table Pizza, exhibited at the show.

The event marks the latest step in IFA’s partnership with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to boost IFA member opportunities in the rapidly growing economies of Asia.

“Asia is a growth area for us, no question,” said John Kersh, Vice President of International Development for Anytime Fitness. “We’re here raising brand awareness and meeting potential partners.” The neighborhood-oriented fitness franchise has opened four locations in Japan in the last year. Kersh was featured in a video produced for the Show by HKTDC.

“Franchising is relatively new in China, so we see it as a big opportunity,” added Ho Khai Weng of Subway, whose delegation included several team members. Subway already has 1200 locations open in Asia, including 260 in China and 250 in Japan.

Yoshino Nakajima and Bob Maguire of Home Instead Senior Care scheduled back-to-back meeting with prospects, taking advantage of Hong Kong’s vibrant restaurant offerings to get to know potential business partners.

“HKTDC really brings in the right crowd,” said Albert Kong, Chairman & CEO of Asiawide Franchise Consultants. “We really get a lot out of this show.”

The IFA is committed to assisting members with international growth plans, said Scott Lehr, Vice President of U.S. & International Development. “We look forward to a greater presence at the World SME Expo next year and creating additional opportunities for our members to grow their brands internationally in 2012,” Lehr said.

“Our partnership with the Hong Kong Trade & Development Council offers enormous opportunity to IFA members,” said Beth Solomon, IFA Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Industry Relations. “HKTDC delivers the people and the resources to make Asia expansion for large and emerging brands a reality.”

The IFA and HKTDC recently received the prestigious Peace Through Commerce Medal Award for 2011. The U.S. Commerce Department award recognizes organizations whose actions have significantly promoted and developed U.S. export initiatives, encouraged innovative approaches, and improved overall U.S. trade relations. IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira and Chairman Jack Earle accepted the award for the IFA from Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez.

Posted by Beth Solomon, IFA Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Industry Relations