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Franchising Heats Up Hong Kong Expo

Franchising leaders led a high-profile International Franchise Association 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 Anytime Fitness, Home Instead Senior Care, Subway 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 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 1,200 locations open in Asia, including 260 in China and 250 in Japan.
Home Instead Senior Care Chief Development Officer Yoshino Nakajima and Franchise Development Manager Bob Maguire scheduled back-to-back meetings 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, CFE, chairman and CEO of Asiawide Franchise Consultants. “We really get a lot out of this show.”
IFA is committed to assisting members with international growth plans, said Scott Lehr, IFA vice president of U.S. and 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.
IFA’s partnership with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council offers enormous opportunity to IFA members. HKTDC delivers the people and the resources to make Asia expansion for large and emerging brands a reality.
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 and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, and Chairman Jack Earle (a McDonald’s multi-unit franchisee) accepted the award for IFA from Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. 

Beth Solomon is vice president, strategic initiatives and industry relations for the International Franchise Association. She can be reached at 202-662-0789 or bsolomon@franchise.org.

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