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The “New Kid” on the Block - CHINAPRINT

Having just returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week, patterned after the drupa format, I can tell you that the Chinese are no longer the student and could be considered the teacher.

By Regis Delmontagne
Published: March 8, 2013

Having just returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week, patterned after the drupa format, I can tell you that the Chinese are no longer the student and could be considered the teacher.

Over 200 individuals from Europe, the U.S. and Asia attended the kick-off program to inform the printing and packaging world that the upcoming Chinese event, 14-18 April 2013, can now be considered one of the world’s most important showcases of equipment, technology and systems blending the traditional printing methods alongside the digital offerings.

According to the organizer, China Print Show Company, over 1000 companies are expected to exhibit their newest products in over 160,000 square meters or (approximately 1.7 million square feet) and will attract about 180,000 professionals to the 5 day event. The show could only reach this size because of the construction of 4 new temporary halls to accommodate the waiting list.  By any definition, it will be the largest printing exhibition in Asia and second in the world.  Pretty exclusive company!

Some special features about CHINAPRINT 2013 according to the organizers:

Size of the Event—The world calendar of international  printing exhibitions has changed dramatically compared to just a decade or so ago.  Some have disappeared or merged into other exhibitions, some have been drastically altered as was just announced by the organizers of IPEX this January, and only  one truly international show can claim that title today, drupa.  However, CHINAPRINT is making an attempt to perhaps claim that title in the next decade. If we measure the size of these events, just as one example, it appears both are reasonably similar to each other.  Of course, drupa, has the history and traditional to support its claims while CHINAPRINT is relatively new on the scene.  Newness does not mean they are still learning; the 2013 edition is 60% larger than the previous version.  While a growth rate of that magnitude will be hard to maintain, several factors are in their favor:  The Chinese printing market is now the 2nd largest in the world and shows no signs of slowing down.  Rising affluence in China almost guarantees a growing rate in literacy as well as a demand  for better packaged products, almost all being printed.

Different Mix of Exhibitors

Most other printing exhibitions, particularly in the West, are no longer dominated by the large, multi-national manufacturers of printing machinery.  As recently as 5 years ago, the largest exhibitors in almost any exhibition held anywhere, were companies such as Heidelberg, Komori, KBA, Man Roland and a few other well- known companies.  Today, these companies, if exhibiting at all, are no longer the most prominent or visible exhibitors, primarily because of the decline in offset sheet fed printing. While offset is not going away, many companies have decided to focus their marketing efforts and costs in markets that are growing, such as China.  As a result, the visitor to CHINARINT will see these familiar names in large, prominent stands.  In May, visitors can not only inspect the offerings of these companies, but see the production on display by other famous brands, such as, Kodak, Canon, Ricoh, Fuji and HP.    Foreign visitors will also be able to see domestic manufacturers such as Shanghai Electric (Goss), Founder group, Masterwork and many others.

Exhibition Theme

The theme for this year’s program is “Green, Efficient, Digital and Intelligent.” While one may have read about the pollution problem in Beijing in January, the Chinese printing industry is anxious to disclaim the stereotyped image of a printing industry as, “dirty”, “smelly” and “foul.” The latest technologies pertaining to sustainability and a green environment will be on full display. According to many proponents of printing being a manufacturing industry thus the need to efficiently process the manufacturing process, between displays and educational sessions the latest breakthroughs will be discussed. And, of course, digital is the magic buzzword for what is occurring in the printing world  and there will be a host of companies  explaining how it will produce profits for the user.

World Class Exhibition Facility

The new China International Exhibition Center has been designed with the assistance of advisers, consultants and operators of major exhibition centers around the world.  Stand installation, air, water, electricity services are amply provided for in these new building. The Center is convenient to Beijing International Airport, served by a subway and bus line and with parking for thousands of cars.

Global Buyers

What is the ultimate purpose of any exhibition?  Putting sellers and buyers in the same building and that’s what the organizers have done  starting the past year.  Starting in August 2011 up to the moment, they have carried out promotion activities at events such as drupa 2012, Graph Expo 2012, and events in Korea, Japan and Taiwan.  They have designed a promotion campaign to bring prospective buyers to Beijing and leave behind them orders for products they bought at the exhibition.  While the emphasis is on buyers from Asian and other developing countries, they are not ignoring buyers or potential distributors from around the world.  To make the contact between buyer and seller much easier, they have created an on-line business-matching service which has undoubtedly already begun the matching up.

CHINAPRINT 2013 marks the continuation of another step for China to call attention to its print industry, its importance in the global economy and its attempt to establish itself as one of the most important international events for the global printing industry.

For more information: www.chinaprint.com.cn

Regis is retired from the National Printing and Equipment Association (NPES) where he served as President from 1976 to 2005. He served as Chairman of the Associations Council of the National Association of Manufacturers, (NAM), on which he also served as a Director. He served on the Advisory Board for the School of Printing at Rochester Institute of Technology.

 

Discussion

By Erik Nikkanen on Mar 08, 2013

I have to agree that China might be a leader in the future on print technology. I have come across many more technical papers from engineering universities in China related to offset printing press science than I see coming out of the institutions in the West.

The engineering universities in Germany that are dedicated to the printing industry, have almost given up on further research into offset. They have gone onto to looking at functional printing and in particular electrical circuits.

It may turn out that the research groups in China will develop the knowledge in the offset process that the West has missed and will lead in those areas.

Science advances but not always so smoothly. It can take leaps between periods of stagnation. It also take leaps by those who are educated, funded and interested in discovering new things. At this time, China might have the right conditions to make that happen.

 

By Greg Imhoff on Mar 13, 2013

Well said Erik. I know from experience that industry leaders may often overlook innovation opportunities.

Innovation is frequently borne where it is not foreseen. If the innovator is thoughtful and fortunate, they may also link up with others that know the larger way forward.

One offsetting difference today in China may be this vastly different culture and market demand, may present a totally different dynamic way forward.

 

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