On September 28, 2011, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) celebrated the official opening of the third construction phase at its Qingpu site near Shanghai in China. The completion of this phase extends the plant's production area to some 45,000 square meters - a threefold increase in the space of just four years. This expansion enables Heidelberg to serve the growing demand from Chinese print shops.
The company has been manufacturing small- and medium-format presses and folding machines in Qingpu since 2005. For the past year, Heidelberg has also been producing presses in the 70 x 100 cm (27.56 x 39.37 in) format class at this site, so it now covers all standard machines required by the Chinese market. Around 400 staff work at the site. The machines made there, primarily for the local market, comply with globally standardized Heidelberg quality criteria. In the future, Heidelberg is planning to gradually increase the proportion of such standard machines that are exported to neighboring countries.
"China is now our number one individual sales market and plays an important role in our business development. The demand for print products is growing all the time in China and has more than tripled over the past ten years. Every third machine sold by Heidelberg in China now comes from Qingpu. Offering locally produced machines has enabled us to tap into additional customer segments in our industry's most important future market. Our strategy of taking full advantage of the potential in emerging markets is thus paying off," said Heidelberg CEO Bernhard Schreier at the opening ceremony.
Qingpu integrated in network of Heidelberg sites
The Qingpu site is an integral part of the Heidelberg network comprising the Wiesloch-Walldorf, Amstetten, Brandenburg, Leipzig, and Ludwigsburg sites in Germany and Nové Mesto in Slovakia. This ensures that, even with a growing proportion of local suppliers, all processes and quality standards satisfy the globally standardized requirements at Heidelberg.
"Our customers can always rely on products from Heidelberg being of the highest quality, irrespective of whether a machine originates from Germany or China," said Stephan Plenz, member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Equipment and thus for the Qingpu site. "This is confirmed by the more than 1,000 presses and folding machines already supplied from Qingpu. To ensure high quality standards, we train our staff with support from Germany and approve all our suppliers in accordance with very strict standardized criteria," he added.
Heidelberg is the only press manufacturer based in either Europe or Japan to have its own production facility in China. As a result, it is further consolidating its leading role on the world's strongest growth market in the print media industry. "By operating its own production facility at the Qingpu site, Heidelberg is able to benefit from cost advantages while also minimizing the foreign exchange risk and import disadvantages," said Plenz.