People Profile: Eddie Cy Ng, President of GZ Art-Land Holding Company
The global licensing community is powered by an incredible group of professionals whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. Each week we’re profiling one of these professionals in this ongoing series.
How did you get into licensing (or how did licensing find you)?
After graduating from university, I began working in the media industry at TV broadcast stations in Hong Kong. Shortly thereafter, I joined a company specializing in Japanese animation, where I was responsible for sales and marketing in the Greater China region. During this time, I gained valuable insights and experience in licensing management through my involvement in international IP licensing ventures. I then joined Guangzhou Art-land in 2004, making the move from Hong Kong to Mainland China to assist Guangzhou Art-land in launching their licensing business from scratch.
What is a typical day like in your current role as President of Guangzhou Art-land?
As the President of Guangzhou Art-land, my daily responsibilities revolve around setting the company’s future development direction and ensuring its successful execution. My colleagues take the lead in driving business development and operations, so my role primarily involves communicating with them on business decision-making matters and providing assistance to expedite progress. Additionally, in recent years, Guangzhou Art-land has focused on establishing original intellectual properties (IPs) to create a commercial presence for our own IPs. Therefore, a significant portion of my time and energy is dedicated to IP investments and the company’s strategic development.
What is your most significant personal or professional accomplishment?
In 2012, I had the privilege of being entrusted by the Department of Cultural Industry of the Ministry of Culture to serve as the chief editor of the book Brand Licensing: The Way of Animation Development. This book provided essential insights into the fundamentals of licensing animation IPs and served as a supplementary textbook for the licensing industry. It was included in the collections of the National Library of China and the National Digital Library of China.
While industry experience and accumulation are crucial, I continuously strive for personal academic growth. In 2018, I obtained a doctoral degree in Business Administration from Jinan University and I am currently pursuing a postgraduate degree program at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
The IP industry has entered an era of diverse growth. Nowadays, many large brands embrace brand collaborations as a preferred partnership model. In addition to managing numerous kids’ animation brands for Nickelodeon, Guangzhou Art-land is currently developing an IP matrix targeting different age groups and industries.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
To be honest, I rarely have trouble falling asleep at night because I am engaged in a job that revolves around spreading joy. During the day, I am mostly in a happy and fulfilled state. If I were to talk about my biggest concern or challenge at present, it would be the passage of time. I often feel like there’s never enough time, especially with the rapid market changes and developments in recent years. Every day, there seems to be something new waiting for me to explore and learn.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
Successfully establishing a popular or viral IP is not a matter of chance but requires the support of a dedicated and skilled team. Professionalism is integral to thriving in the licensing business, and every aspect of the process must be approached with utmost dedication and expertise.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, or what’s your favorite quote?
“Living in the present, supporting others’ accomplishment” is my guiding principle in life. With nearly 30 years of experience in the workforce, I deeply understand the importance of talent. Hence, I am wholeheartedly committed to contributing to the cultivation of industry professionals, empowering more licensing experts, and promoting the healthy development of the industry. Serving others not only benefits them but also brings fulfillment to ourselves.
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (It doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you.)
One that stands out to me is the Milkground cheese brand. In 2018, Milkground collaborated with PAW Patrol to launch their first product, the PAW Patrol Children’s Cheese Stick. Leveraging the influence of the animated IP, they successfully penetrated the children’s retail market. Within a span of two years, Milkground became one of JD.com’s top ten best-selling children’s snack brands. I had the privilege of witnessing how their collaboration enabled continuous growth and commercial success.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
I thoroughly enjoy this role, but if I were not involved in licensing business, I would likely become a university lecturer to continue making valuable and meaningful contributions to the licensing industry.
The last licensed product I bought was…
Personally, I have always had a fondness for collecting figurines, especially limited-edition and valuable ones. In recent years, POP MART released two limited-edition collaborations—the MEGA Collectible Series 1000% SPACE MOLLY x SpongeBob SquarePants and the MEGA Collectible Series 1000% SPACE MOLLY x Patrick. These figurines were released in limited quantities worldwide, and they sold out quickly. Later on, I managed to purchase them from a seasoned collector. These two limited-edition figurines are the most satisfying additions to my figurine collection this year.