For a number of years now, the Chinese print industry has been able to look forward to the highly popular and esteemed road show with which KBA head of marketing Jürgen Veil and further guest speakers tour the country each October. This year's nine-day tour under the banner "KBA: Pioneer of Green Innovation" stopped off in Beijing, Yinchuan, Jinan, Xiamen and Dongguan. Three of those cities were on the itinerary for the first time, offering potential customers from the Northwest and other less frequently spotlighted regions of China an opportunity to gather information on the latest state of sheetfed offset printing technologies.
Ecological print production is also being shifted into the focus of attention in China, as ever greater importance is attached to environmental protection from the political side. Reflecting the diversity of regional interests, the topics of brand protection, UV printing on plastics and large-format sheetfed offset were further items on the agendas of the individual events. Exhibitions of high-quality print samples and practical demonstrations on Rapida presses completed the programme at each road show location. At the end of the day, every conference participant received a book of coating samples with useful instructions on inline finishing and product refinement. Some of the guests had actually travelled several hundred kilometres to attend the meetings, which only KBA offers in such concentrated form and with such a wide range of topics, also outside the major print industry centres.
Bringing the world of print to the provinces
With its regular road shows, KBA aims to embrace every region of the country. The print industry in the Northwest of China, for example, is in many ways dependent on such stimulation for its further development. KBA was the first press manufacturer to offer technology seminars in the region, contributing to expansion of the of the local printing scene and helping its knowledge-hungry printers to learn more about the "wide world of print". This commitment is already bearing fruits. In medium-format, KBA has been the only manufacturer to supply latest-generation presses to users in the Ningxia Autonomous Region over the past three years. In fact, 80 per cent of all presses installed in recent years or else currently awaiting installation in the Northwest provinces come from KBA. One of the fastest growing provinces, with a high level of demand for print products, is Shandong. Here, too, high-tech sheetfed offset from KBA is especially welcomed. The coastal city of Xiamen in the south of Fujian Province was one of those hosting the road show for the first time. The exceptionally high attendance far exceeded the expectations of the organisers at KBA China, despite the fact that the event took place on a weekend. That is clear illustration of the great interest shown in the latest sheetfed offset technologies.
China tops the table of sales markets
The high growth rates in China offer proof that the financial crisis is here no longer a issue of concern. For KBA, 2010 was its best ever year for sheetfed offset in China. The country has even climbed to the top of the table of sales markets for the first time, ahead of Germany, the USA and other big European markets. In the large-format sector alone, there are more than 30 presses on the order books, and the corresponding figure in medium format is much higher still. One interesting aspect among the orders for new presses from China is the increasing trend towards longer presses in individual configurations. Alongside, numerous customers have chosen upgrades for their existing presses or refurbished used presses. Practically all KBA users who invested before the crisis have emerged stronger than ever before.