Having Already Been There for 46 Years, MAN Roland Says China Market Ready
Press release from the issuing company
Full order books for MAN Roland: while already the number one in Chinese newspaper printing, MAN Roland has also managed to double its market share in sheet-fed presses during the last three years. Moreover, the company expects its China business to grow by 50 per cent.
With close to 1.3 billion people, China is the country with the largest population in the world, and as such it constitutes an immense readership potential. The Chinese newspaper industry is one of the biggest globally: the country's 1,200-plus printing companies produce about 2,000 different dailies and some 8,000 magazines. Since 1999 China has ranked second worldwide, after the USA, in paper consumption. Not the least of the reasons for this are the economic and political changes that have been apparent over the last two decades or longer, the country's increasing opening to the West, and the consequent increase of investments from abroad.
The above-average growth of the economy is also causing a rise in the people's standard of living (it is the ambitious aim of the government to boost the GDP to ten trillion US$ within the next five years, which requires an annual increase by at least five per cent).
This is of course accompanied by a growing demand for a larger supply of newspapers and magazines. After MAN Roland was unable to step up deliveries further, and even had to refuse orders, other manufacturers also received orders. This necessitated numerous investments to raise printing capacity and printing quality so as to satisfy the expected demand.
More than 40 years of MAN Roland presence in China
The long history of MAN Roland success in China begins in the mid1950s with the delivery of letterpress machines. Ever since, "People’s Daily" und "Beijing Daily" - two of the biggest and most influential daily newspapers in the country - have been MAN Roland customers. Some 30 years later, this was followed by orders for the COROSET, TECTOSET and UNIMAN web-offset presses from Augsburg. In 1995, MAN Roland China was established as a branch office in Beijing to enable better coordination of local sales and service activities with sales partner VOTRA.
VOTRA GRAPHIC SYSTEMS was founded as a trading company in Zug, Switzerland, in 1951, and taken over in 1974 by the then Dutch VRG Group (later KNP – BT und Buhrmann). In 1994, VOTRA became the first organisation, operating from Hong Kong, to look after the Chinese market for web- and sheet-fed presses. In 1999, the company was taken over by MAN Roland.
In the same year, MAN Roland China was set up as a sales and service organization of the Group. Much has changed since then: many new and competent people were hired, and a reorganization into Business Units and Sub-Regions was carried out. This new structure makes it possible for MAN Roland in China to service the huge market intensively, covering all web and sheet activities from sales and service through to the material business.
Market leader in newspaper presses
MAN Roland China operates with a staff of 200 at its main office in Hong Kong and four branches in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Such local presence has served to form many interesting and successful business relationships with Chinese customers. By now, MAN Roland controls about two thirds of the newspaper printing segment, which clearly makes it the leader in this market. To elaborate: since 1985, the company has supplied more than 270 newspaper presses of all model lines to 62 customers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; most of the leading Chinese dailies are now printed on MAN Roland machines.
The market for commercial web presses is only starting to develop, but here, too, the growth rates are pleasing and the number of orders is going up at a fast clip. The first Chinese ROTOMAN contract, for example, was signed and sealed at CHINAPRINT, China's largest trade fair for printing machinery, in Beijing, 23 - 28 May 2001. The press will be printing the "Guangzhou Daily".
Strong position in sheetfed press market, too
MAN Roland holds a leading position in Chinese packaging printing as well. In the period from 1997 to 2000 alone, as many as ten double-coating presses were sold in China.
The first ROLAND 710 in 5/5 format in Asia was installed in Mai 1998 at Wing King Tong Ltd. in Hong Kong. The company has a daily printing volume of 25,000 hardcover books and 80,000 paperbacks. Another ROLAND, a 705, was sold to this customer in 2000.
The first ten-colour ROLAND 700 in China was installed in 1999 at the Man Sang Group with head office in Hong Kong and productions sites in Dongguan. The production range there consists of paper bags, envelopes, greeting cards, gift sets of stationery etc. The Man Sang Group further uses a ROLAND 706 with two perfecting units and thus a total of 46 ROLAND 700 printing units, a ROLAND 202, a complete PECOM network, and two Multi-CCI-2D. This makes the Man Sang Group MAN Roland's biggest sheet-fed press customer in China and Hong Kong.
Other important customers in sheetfed are the People’s Fine Arts/Meihang/Meitong Printing Group (high-quality books, folders and stationery), Humen Colour, one of China's largest printers of cigarette packs, The Shanghai Jielong colour printing company (packaging for electric appliances, clothing, chemical products, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes and wine), and the Hung Hing Printing Group Ltd., one of the largest printing companies in China and Hong Kong.
MAN Roland moreover is the technology leader in the sheetfed press market, and has gained on its two biggest competitors by doubling its market share (now 20 percent) between 1998 and 2000. The company is present with sheetfed presses in all of China.
Market position to be significantly advanced further
Over the next few years, MAN Roland plans to improve its position in the Chinese press market even further. Technologically, too, MAN Roland is the pacesetter here with the introduction of the PECOM control system. This is an automation and data management system developed specifically for the newspaper industry to optimize the production process and make it more efficient. Headway is to be made also in the advertising and commercial web printing segments. MAN Roland is confident enough to aim at being the number-one supplier to the printing industry in all segments. In particular, this objective is to be served by first-rate after-sales service and highly qualified staff. Setting up training and service centres will establish the corporate infrastructure throughout the region.
In addition - here as anywhere else - MAN Roland attaches high importance to the system business, i.e. the combination of trade and service, because it ensures quick, individual and competent on-the-spot service to customers.
Growing demand for latest printing technology
The chances of reaching this objective are very good because unlike other manufacturers, MAN Roland entered the Chinese market very early and can therefore draw on many years of experience. China's economic growth and its membership in the WTO are no small factors allowing the prediction that the next few years will see an enormous rise of demand for printing presses in the country. In newspaper printing, there has been an increase in page counts, and the desire for more colour exists as well. Increasing investments from abroad or joint ventures between foreign companies and Chinese printers, coupled with an increasing demand for high-quality magazines make it very likely that the need for new printing technology will grow in advertising and commercial web printing, too. For MAN Roland, its digital printing system DICO (Digital Change Over) constitutes a new segment that is quickly conquering the Chinese market. It enables "printing on demand" in all areas of printing.
China second in MAN Roland's export business
In the current business year, MAN Roland China with some 400 million DM accounts for about ten per cent of the total MAN Roland turnover. This makes China rank second to the United States in the company's export business. But with China now a member of the WTO, MAN Roland Board Chairman Gerd Finkbeiner aims at an increase in turnover share to 15 per cent. A perfectly realistic figure, as the well-filled order books prove.
Dr Markus Rall, Managing Director of MAN Roland China, shows similar optimism in his comments on the company's plans and philosophy: "MAN Roland will continue its strong commitment to the Chinese market and go on investing in the regional infrastructure. In doing so,
MAN Roland sees itself as a partner of the Chinese printing industry for the purpose of providing solutions, applications and service in constant dialogue with the customers.“
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