Hong Kong Brand i-Directory is a registration system for Hong Kong original brands, which consists of an accreditation mechanism to verify the eligibility for "Hong Kong Brand" identity and an on-line centralised database (id.hkbrand.org) containing information of such accredited brands. Brands that have met the "Hong Kong Brand Identification Criteria" and passed the required assessment conducted by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council shall be eligible for registering with the "Hong Kong Brand i-Directory" (Brand HKiD) and being listed on the dedicated website and other information facilities for free public access.
Hong Kong Brand Development Council (BDC) is the organiser of "Brand HKiD"; and "Brand HKiD" per se is one of the main deliverables of a large-scale project named "Organising 'Hong Kong ‧ IN ‧ Brand Greater Bay' Serial Activities to Promote Hong Kong Brands' Collective image" ("Brand Greater Bay Project"), which is sponsored by the Trade and Industrial Organisation Support Fund of Trade and Industry Department HKSAR Government, with the BDC and the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (the CMA) being the Oragniser and Collaborating Organisation respectively and the CMA Exhibition Services Limited acting as Implementation Agent. The BDC will continue to operate Brand HKiD on its own account after the "Brand Greater Bay Project" is completed in August 2021.
To ensure impartiality and professionalism, the Organiser has established Hong Kong Brand i-Directory Steering Committee, whose membership includes professionals in different fields as well as representatives of leading organisations. The Committee provides advice on the suitability and adequacy of the registration requirements, the assessment protocol and other matters related to the operation and administration of Hong Kong Brand i-Directory.
Through setting up an identification benchmark to verify the authenticity of brand's "domicile of origin" and establishing a registration mechanism together with a publishing platform thereof, Hong Kong Brand i–Directory provides authoritative third-party proof of identity for Hong Kong original brands. A brand eligible for registration with Brand HKiD is deemed to have met the definition of and satisfied the criteria on "Hong Kong Brand" as formulated by the BDC and by implication possess some special characteristics associated with Hong Kong original brands. Suffice it to say, Brand HKiD serves as an "infrastructure" to enhance the support system for brand development, helping to boost consumers' receptiveness of Hong Kong brands and to lay a firmer foundation for brand protection. Meanwhile, Registered Brands are allowed to list on Brand HKiD's dedicated website (id.hkbrand.org) and other information facilities for free public access; some Registered Brands could also avail the designated sections of these publication facilities to display product information and conduct promotion.
With products and services of Hong Kong gaining popularity worldwide, "Hong Kong Brand" has become a symbol of quality, trendiness, credibility, value for money and excellent services. The BDC conducted a serial market studies in the Mainland over the past ten years, which covered the Central China, South China, Northeast China and Northern China, taking the form of large-scale consumer survey and focus group discussions. The research finding reaffirmed that consumers tend to hold Hong Kong brands in high regard. When it comes to Hong Kong brands, Mainland consumers would usually refer to positive attributes such as "good quality", "high awareness", "comfort and assurance", "trendiness", "good services", "credibility", "innovative design" and "value for money". Besides, many consumers indicated that they would accept a considerable premium for Hong Kong brands as compared to similar products under domestic brands and local brands.
Brands that have met the "Hong Kong Brand Identification Criteria" and passed the required assessment conducted by the BDC shall be eligible for registering with the "Brand HKiD" and being listed on the dedicated website (id.hkbrand.org) and other information facilities for free public access.
"Hong Kong Brand Identification Criteria" serves as a yardstick for BDC to determine whether a brand could be recongised as "Hong Kong Brand" and accordingly be qualified for being listed on "Brand HKiD" as a "Registered Brand". The criteria include:
- A registered brand should be a product brand or a service brand, which exhibits sufficient distinctiveness, independence and operational sustainability.
- The registered brand should be established in Hong Kong or have substantially close relations with Hong Kong, e.g. owners or significant controllers of the brand being Hong Kong permanent residents or companies registered in Hong Kong, the manufacturing or operating sites mainly based in Hong Kong, the brand’s products or services primarily targeted at Hong Kong market, or the brand having significant contribution to or influences on Hong Kong’s industrial and economic development.
- The registered brand should have been registered with the Intellectual Property Department, HKSAR. Otherwise, the applicant company should produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate originality and proprietorship of the brand.
- The applicant company should hold valid Hong Kong company and business registration certificates and have substantive business operations in Hong Kong, and it must demonstrate that it has exclusive rights to fully control the production, distribution or other operational activities of the registered brand.
- To register with Hong Kong Brand i-Directory, a brand should apply for verification of its "Hong Kong Brand" identity. The applicant company should file an application with the Organiser by submitting a signed original copy of "Application From" together with accurate and objective supporting information as well as photocopies of the relevant documentary proofs.
- Document review and verification will be conducted on the applicant brand and applicant company. When necessary, the Organiser may request the applicant to produce true copies of supporting materials, verify with relevant organsations, interview the management, and perform on-site assessment through visiting major operating locations and perusing operating documents like business records and evidence.
- Upon completion of the assessment according to "Hong Kong Brand Identification Criteria", the Organiser decides on the eligibility of applicant brand to be accredited as "Hong Kong Brand" and registered with Hong Kong Brand i-Directory. The Organiser also sets out the Scope of Registration, which may include the registered brand and its registered stream, registrant and the registration type.
- Confirmation in writing by the Orginiser shall be issued to a successful applicant. Basic Information of registered brands and registrant are published on the online facilities of "Hong Kong Brand i-Directory" or via other information facilities for public access.
- The Organiser may set a validity period for the registration and introduce renewal procedure to periodically review the eligibility of a registered brand when it deems necessary.
"Scope of Registration" is the encompassment of the registration, which covers the name of a registered brand and its registered stream, name of registrant, as well as registration type, restriction and remarks.
Apart from "Full Registration", a brand might be granted "Conditional Registration" or other alternative status in the light of some special circumstances. For example, part of the documents required for supporting registration are still being processed or the ambit of the registration is subject to certain restrictions.
Any brand, no matter the industry in which it is engaged, are in principle entitled to applying for registering with the Brand HKiD, yet the industrial sector or trade it belongs to will be duly indicated. It should be noted that only "product brands" and "service brands" are accepted for listing on the Brand HKiD. For a product brand, it is normally represented by the trademark or logo printed on prepackaged goods; whereas a service brand often refers to the trademark or logo shown at the service locations or that of the company operating the related services.
Brands can apply for registration in product brand or service brand streams. Brands engaged in diversified business might apply for "dual registration" in both product brand and service brand streams.
Brands engaged in diversified business might apply for "dual registration" in both product brand and service brand streams. For this case in point, the applicant might apply for registration as a product brand in terms of its products; at the same time, it could apply for registration with the service brand stream (retail sector) for its retail shop. The Organiser will issue "Confirmation of Registration with Brand HKiD" for both streams to the applicant brand if it passes the required assessment.
Company name is not accepted for registration with Brand HKiD under general circumstances, unless the company brand itself is the trade name of the products or services that it supplies. That is, a company name could act as "Registered Brand" if it shares the same brand name with its products or services.
Applicants can fill in the "Request for Application Form" on the website and submit it online. The BDC will contact the applicants and provide them with "Application Form of 'Hong Kong Brand i-Directory'" as well as other related documents and materials by email.
Applicants should submit to the Oragniser a hardcopy of filled Application Form (with company chop and authorised signature), together with electronic copy of Company Registration Certificate, Business Registration Certificate, trademark registration certificates, brand logo, photos of representative products or service locations, documentary proofs of prizes and certifications, etc.
Brand HKiD is governed by a series of regulatory documents, which include but are not limited to "'Hong Kong Brand i-Directory' Registration Regulations", "Hong Kong Brand Identification Criteria", "Terms and Conditions of Registration with Hong Kong Brand i-Directory" and "Suggested Use of Hong Kong Brand i-Directory in Literature". Applicants and registrants shall be committed to abiding by the regulations stipulated in these document and other requirements related to the "Brand HKiD", as established by the Organiser from time to time. All decision made by the Organiser shall be final and binding in all matters.
Registrants shall inform the Organiser in writing on the following changes in relation to the registration within one month from the effective date.
- Major change of the legal and other documentary proof in connection with application and registration;
- Major change in the modal operandi, operational arrangement, product category or service scope of the registered brand;
- Changes in the design and specifications of trademark;
- Change of the operating location(s) and company address; and
- Change of brand ownership, corporate ownership, governance structure, personnel arrangement or other matters that affect the registration and the eligibility of the registrant.
No. The Organiser, when it deems necessary, may set a validity period for the registration and set out renewal requirements and procedure to periodically review the eligibility of a registrant and its brand. And the Organiser reserves the right to suspend or withdraw a registration or adjust the scope of registration under certain circumstances.
The Organiser may at its discretion suspend or withdraw a registration or adjust the scope of registration under any of the following circumstances:
- The registrant no longer satisfies the registration requirements due to changes in its ownership, management structure or operation;
- Acts of the registrant undermines the interests or reputation of the Organiser;
- The registrant is found to be involved in a complaint, lawsuit or negative event, for which the Organiser, after conducting a investigation, believes that the registrant has no longer satisfied the registration requirements or has caused or may cause negative impacts on the interests or reputation of the Organiser and the Brand HKiD; or
- The Organiser by any reason believes that the registrant has failed to or lost the ability to satisfy the registration requirements or it has caused actual or potential negative impacts on the interests or reputation of the Organiser and Brand HKiD.
The Organiser, when deciding to impose suspension, withdrawal or amendment to the registration of a brand, shall inform the registrant in question in writing; and the decision would become effective on the date of the written notice issued by the Organiser. Within four weeks from the date of the notice of suspension, the authorised representative of the registrant in question shall provide the Organiser an action plan to rectify and prevent recurrence of any discrepancies raised by the Organiser. Action mentioned in the action plan shall be completed effectively within six months, and suspension can only be lifted after an assessment is conducted and the outcome of assessment is reviewed by the Organiser as adequate.
An applicant or registrant may lodge a complaint or a dispute against any decision made or action taken by the Organiser. A written submission setting out the grounds of such complaint and dispute shall be made to the Organiser within four weeks after such decision or action has been made or taken.
When a registrant of the Hong Kong Brand i-Directory use wordings to indicate/interpret the registration in textual or verbal contexts, the full name of the Organiser i.e. "Hong Kong Brand Development Council" should be well articulated; and such presentation/formulation shall be confined strictly to the registered brand and the registrant and shall not be used for the promotion of specified products or services. For more details, please refer to examples in the "Suggested Use of “Brand HKiD in Literature".
The validity period for the registration is 12 months in general. Under some circumstances, registration of some "Registered Brand" may be valid for longer or shorter than 12 months.
The registrant can submit an application for renewal to the Organiser at least 60 days prior to the expiry of current validity period. Renewal will be approved after an assessment is conducted and the outcome of assessment is reviewed by the Organiser as adequate.
All fees related to application and registration are waived currently, including application fee, document examination fee and registration document fee, etc.
The information facilities of "Brand HKiD" include the dedicated website and mobile application currently. Apart from basic information of brands, promotional information of some brands will be also be published on the information facilities.