The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), which organises the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart), is expecting a 7% increase in the number of exhibitors at this year's event, to 480 from 30 countries and regions.

The market, which aims to position Hong Kong as a vital trading hub for the Asian and international film and media industries, takes place March 17-20 as part of territory's expanding Entertainment Expo.

This year the market will feature two new pavilions for the film industries of Israel and Indonesia, and Sweden and the Czech Republic will also be represented for the first time at the fair.

In 2007, the TDC initiated two new thematic zones - Locations World and TV World. This year TV World is expanding to 80 exhibitors and is introducing a new section, 'TV World Screenings', to showcase local TV drama and documentary production.

Two other pavilions - Animation & Digital Entertainment World and Equipment & Post-production Services World - expect around 70 and 40 exhibitors, respectively.

Among numerous industry screenings, Filmart will host the premieres of the Japanese feature Chesuto! and the latest work by French director Emmanuel Mouret, Shall We Kiss'

In its fourth year under the Entertainment Expo umbrella, Filmart will open on the same day as co-production market HAF, the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and the second edition of the Asian Film Awards (AFA).

For 2008, the Asian Film Awards has introduced the Edward Yang New Talent Award, in memory of the late director; the inaugural prize will go to emerging Japanese filmmaker Ishii Yuya.

The Expo's total of nine film and media-related events will conclude with the Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony on April 13.

New to the Hong Kong Music Fair (HKMF) this year is a Talent Showcase, giving performers and composers the chance for industry exposure.

Illustrating the Expo's interest in exploring entertainment's digital frontiers, segments of the IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award (combined with the HKMF) can be downloaded by fair visitors, and Filmart itself will host the first awards ceremony for mobile-phone based film production content.

Full list of Entertainment Expo Hong Kong events:

Hong Kong FILMART (March 17-20)

Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (March 17-19)

Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 17-April 6)

Asian Film Awards (March 17)

Hong Kong Film Awards (April 13)

Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards (March 13-23)

Hong Kong Music Fair (March 19-21)

IFPI HK Top Sales Music Award (March 19)

Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (April 8)