By Linda Tan Lingard
The seven-year-old Kuala Lumpur Rights Fair took place on 19-21 April with ambitions plans under a new organizer. Also known as KLTCC (Kuala Lumpur Trade and Copyright Center), it brought together more than 100 exhibitors from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Korea, China, Hong Kong, India, and Egypt. Prominent among the exhibitors was the Zhejiang Publishing Group from China who took 300 square meters of floor space. More than two-thirds of the exhibitors are from Southeast Asia.
For the first time, this year’s rights fair was organized by the Perbadanan Kota Buku, the Book City Corporation (a company linked to the government) — the first time it was organized by the well-funded Kota Buku. Previous organizers include the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation and the National Book Council. In addition, the rights fair used to be a add-on element of the Kuala Lumpur Book Fair, which is primarily a consumer fair that attracts more than a million visitors annually.
Sayed Munawar, CEO of Kota Buku said when they were first tasked to take over KLTCC, they studied and realized the value of the ASEAN market as well as wider Asia Pacific region for publishing and content.
“We thought that the time is now that Malaysia should position itself as the hub for Asia Pacific content,” he added.
A different feature of KLTCC compared to other similar rights or trade fairs is that it bought together advertising, film, TV and digital media producers, distributors, and production companies. A total of 31 buyers from Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong attended the fair to source for content via the organizer’s business matching program.
In addition, translations grants worth RM 500,000, about $138,000, were made available during the fair, with a cap of $2,500 per application for translation of literary works into languages other than the Malay Language.
Organizers estimate that rights sales and resulting products, particularly those related to digital products and convergence, has potential to contribute as much as RM 33 billion ($9 billion) to Malaysia’s GDP.
Linda Tan Lingard is based in Kuala Lumpur. She has been in the publishing industry for more than 30 years in different roles and working across a broad spectrum of the industry.