Palace Museum offers naming rights to help revenue shortfall

Naming rights for certain exhibitions at the Hong Kong Palace Museum may be sold to generate extra income for the costly museum, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chairman Bernard Charnwut Chan has said.

The museum is set to open on July 2 with a top draw of 914 antiques from Beijing Palace Museum.

Chan acknowledged the museum is facing financial pressure in the short term but said it would explore ways to diversify sources of income, including selling naming rights.

The Palace Museum's insurance premium alone costs tens of millions of dollars due to high operational costs. But general admission tickets, at HK$50 for an adult, will only account for 30 percent of the museum's revenue.

"The West Kowloon Cultural District contributes toward more than 40 percent of the museum's financial support," Chan said. "It may be necessary to cut costs as the museum faces financial pressures in the future, but we are confident that it will not affect the rest of the district."

Chan added that the museum must be prudent when it comes to selling naming rights.

While not all parts of the museum are available for the naming rights trade - the naming rights of exhibitions will be up for purchase.

After reviewing practices in other countries, Chan said, naming rights of exhibitions may be given to sponsors.

"Exhibition halls are such a special place that we would not easily give their naming rights to certain external parties. We would not give the naming right of the entire building to external parties - that would be impossible."

Chan said HKPM has cooperated with 70 museums around the world and some local collectors have also lent their collections to the museum.

He hopes the museum can cooperate with its Taiwan counterparts in the future.

Chan said it is unnecessary for the museum to ask for more funds from the government or the Hong Kong Jockey Club at this stage, but if it does well, attracting visitors from around the world, and authorities consider expanding it, it should find new sources of funding.