Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister Of State For Finance and Transport at Franchising And Licensing Asia 2007, Hall 401, Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre on 20 September 200720 Sep 2007
Mr Douglas Foo Chairman, Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore)
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to everyone
1. I am delighted to be here this morning to join in the excitement and buzz at this international exhibition and conference. Singapore is pleased to be hosting and supporting the Franchising & Licensing Asia 2007 event for the second year running. It is heartening too to note that this event has grown since last year. With more than 100 exhibitors and 3000 visitors expected from over 18 countries, this year's show promises to be a significant one.
2. An event like this allows both local and foreign entrepreneurs to converge, to showcase their business concepts, brands and licences as well as to exchange ideas and to be updated on the latest developments in the franchising and licensing arena. Potential investors, industry players and just about any individual with capital seeking new business opportunities and investments will be thrilled with the varied exhibits ranging from food & beverages (F&B), education, beauty, wellness, fashion, sports and services to be franchised and licensed during the exhibition. Through this platform, new ideas will hopefully be sparked off and valuable insights be gained as you will all have the opportunity to interact with successful individuals who have excelled in their respective sectors.
SINGAPORE AS A FRANCHISING HUB
3. Singapore's strategic location, with her comprehensive air and sea links, and a pro-business banking, telecommunications and logistics infrastructure, offers a vantage point for existing and new franchisors, locally and overseas, who are seeking to expand into the fast growing Asian economies such as China, India and Vietnam. Through our stable business and regulatory regime, and sound corporate governance structure, we aim to create an ideal platform for potential franchise owners who seek security for their investments. This is reinforced by a report by the World Bank where Singapore is ranked top amongst 175 countries on the ease of doing business and on protecting investors.
4. International companies with renowned brands like Carl's Junior, Gloria Jean's Coffee, Starbucks, Global Brands are leveraging on Singapore's intangible assets such as pro-business policies, excellent infrastructure and emphasis on intellectual property rights protection to grow their brands and business concepts here, and in the region. Master franchisees and foreign franchises have been attracted to set up their regional headquarters here, turning Singapore into the Asian hub for franchising activity.
GROWTH OF THE FRANCHISING INDUSTRY
5. Franchising is an effective way of multiplying and expanding businesses. Not only does it lower the risks borne by potential franchisees, but also it allows franchisors control over their brand. Through franchising, a growing number of Singapore companies, like Apex-Pal Holdings Ltd, which owns Sakae Sushi; the BreadTalk Group; OSIM International Ltd; Ya Kun International Pte Ltd, just to name a few, have successfully exported their entire business and brand concepts outside of Singapore and built a network of several hundred outlets in many cities across the world.
6. Growth for the franchising business in Singapore continues to be promising. This diverse sector has in excess of 420 franchise systems, with more than 30,000 franchisees operating with an annual turnover of $5.48 billion. Although a large number of franchised brands are still related to the F&B industry, other sectors such as education and childcare are fast catching up. On the whole, the industry is continuing to grow at a steady rate in Singapore.
7. I am pleased to note that the Franchising and Licensing Association (FLA) has heeded the government's call to move towards a knowledge-based economy. The Association has in recent years, enlarged its scope to include branding and licensing under its wing. This has important implications for its members in the management of their intellectual property (IP) as well as relations between franchisors, franchisees and the methodologists of IP. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has set up tools and programmes aimed at helping businesses understand IP management. The key to unlocking a successful franchise business lies in the ability to differentiate from competitors its system of operations and to guard the knowledge that comes with it. The close working relations that FLA has with IPOS will no doubt give members of the Association an edge over competitors in the franchising and licensing industry.
8. Various government agencies, such as IE Singapore and SPRING Singapore have also put in place several initiatives to provide technical and financial support to companies who are interested in franchising and licensing. All these exemplify the Singapore Government's commitment to assist the growth and export of the franchise business models both locally and internationally.
9. Singapore's achieved an economic growth rate of 7.6% for the first half of 2007 and market conditions are currently favourable for businesses. I hope that FLA will continue its good work in promoting the growth of a fledgling franchising and licensing industry, but one with a bright future.
10. In closing, I congratulate FLA for your success in staging this event and I wish all of you a memorable and fruitful time at FLAsia 2007. Thank you.