The sixth Hong Kong International Film and Television Market (FilMart) is set to be the biggest yet, with a 23% increase in the number of pre-registered buyers to 1,400, according to organisers, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC).
Exhibitor numbers for the three-day event, which kicks off Wednesday (June 26), have also swelled by 45% to 190 from 20 territories.
China and Hong Kong continue to dominate the ranks of sellers with 32 and 31 companies respectively. However, this year's event has attracted 11 new delegations, including Australia's Melbourne Film Office, Chile, India, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The TDC has also introduced several new features to this year's market in an attempt to give it greater international appeal. These include an online trailers library, additional screenings and a Film Financing Kiosk where lawyers and investment bankers will dispense free advice.
In addition, market research company AC Nielsen has been commissioned to conduct an on-site survey into delegates' opinions of the market and their perception of Hong Kong films.
Despite its growth and the efforts of its organisers, FilMart faces growing competition as it strives to position itself as Asia's leading film event. Korea's Pusan International Film Festival and its co-productions market, the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), are becoming increasingly popular with international buyers. Meanwhile, the inaugural Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS), which took place this April, was strongly supported by the local industry.
Some industry executives have called for FilMart to be combined with HAS and moved to April so that it takes place in the run-up to Cannes rather than one month afterwards.
A survey conducted by the TDC last year showed that most sellers preferred the event to be held in June. However, this year's AC Nielsen survey will also take into account the opinion of buyers.