The fourth edition of the fair promoted by the Printing and Printing Equipment Industries Association of China (PEIAC) will take place in Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center next April.The entire supply chain will be on show, with the spotlight on the challenges posed by the new laws on environmental compatibility but also by the leading quality criteria that characterize the sector culture.

We met Mr. Lu Chang’an, vice president of Peiac, visiting the first edition of Print4All to strengthen the partnerships with Acimga and the main companies present at the fair. First objective on the agenda of the Chinese delegation: promote the fourth Print China, the great industrial printing fair that will take place from 9 to 13 April 2019 in Dongguan, in the south of the country, following the traditional two-year alternation with the Beijing China Print. The “sister” events are held every four years and take place in the north (China Print in Beijing) and south of the country (Print China in Dongguan) to bring technology producers closer to the Chinese and Far Eastern users (and not only!), creating meetings and business platforms in both halves of the immense and dynamic “local” market. In addition, the two events offer valuable opportunities to capture the market-, sociological and legislative trends that affect demand in this part of the world, starting from those concerning the management of environmental impact. Significant, in this regard, the considerations made in the article dedicated to China Print 2017 in Converting n.4 of last year, and the statements made by Mr. Lu in the following interview.

Mr. Lu, having the top management of PEIAC as guests at Print4all, as well as representatives of two of the leading Far East trade shows, is very gratifying. What led you to Milan?

We have come to update on the latest technologies for printing and converting, and on solutions that help to reduce the environmental impact of this industry. Here we can see the trends that drive the R&D of European companies. We also met Acimga – co-organizer of Print4All and our historical partner – to understand how to strengthen our collaboration in the near future. Starting with the promotion of the leading Italian companies that want to participate in the next Print China, in April.

Italy, along with other countries all over the world, was well represented at the last China Print in Beijing. What are the differences between the two fairs, not only from a geographical point of view, but also in terms of the technological content and the products represented?

The differences derive from the fact that in the time between the two fairs the printing industry evolves and the related technologies as well: every time, therefore, the visitor comes into contact with a different offer, they themselves express changed needs.

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The promotion of the forthcoming Print China, which also includes presentation road shows all over the world, is upheld by the success of the previous 2015 edition, which attracted 1328 exhibitors to the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center in Dongguan (34.8% from abroad, representing 28 countries) covering a 140 thousand square meters, surpassing the results of 2011 by 16.67% (foreign exhibitors + 5.31%). There were record numbers also for visitors: 206,154 operators from 146 countries from all over the world, with a growth of 20.38% on the previous edition.

There will be ten themed sections, which are divided into equipment and technologies for Digital Printing& Pre-press, Printing equipment, Postpress and Converting, Packaging Printing, Label printing, AD printing, Corrugated carton, Screen printing, Accessories & consumables and Comprehensive system.

At Print China, alongside the Chinese companies as well as companies from India and from all over the Far East, great Western industry is well represented, with the adhesion of European and American market leaders, and with “collectives” from the most dynamic countries. Italy is represented by Acimga, historical partner of PEIAC and its fairs, which during Print4All hosted a Chinese collective and received the top management of the Chinese machine builders association. Many Italian companies will be directly present in Dongguan as owners of production facilities in the area, or at the stands of their local representatives.

The Chinese market of graphic arts – Acimga reminds us – is a consolidated one. The major international players have been operating there for years, also via production subsidiaries along with numerous local premium-price companies (in drupa, the Chinese are the second national collective per m., Ed.). At the end of 2017 China was the fifth export market in the sector and the second non-EU market after the US, with a value of 79 million euros, or 4.9% of the market share, up 7.8% compared to 2016.


Can you give some examples?

The first comes from our Government’s commitment to contain VOC emissions: the latest release of the relevant law is producing many changes in our industry. At China Print in Beijing, we also had an area dedicated to the treatment of VOCs, but over the past two years environmental legislation has changed and now there are new limits to be met and higher levels of environmental protection to be achieved. For printers, these are decisive, and sometimes dramatic challenges, especially for small businesses, which are not always able to sustain the costs necessary to bring production into line. In the Sustainability area of Print China new machines and more advanced technologies that involve the whole supply chain will therefore be found: as regards inks, for example, the culture is changing, paving the way for water based products, as well as with quality control, where demand for inspection systems grows. And the interest of Chinese printers in this regard is very lively and concrete. The second major difference compared to the Peking engagement of two years ago is the growing interest of companies in automation and industry 4.0.

In China as well? In spite of the lower wage levels that encourage the use of labor?

Yes also in China. With us the packaging and printing industry is growing at a rapid pace and in the meantime labor costs are increasing. This can be seen, for example, in post-print processing, which was almost always manual and is now increasingly entrusted to machines.

Your visit to Print4All also aims to forge relations with Italian operators. These are often small entrepreneurs for whom it is not easy to operate in China and maintain business relations on the spot. Today we are much closer than before but differences in mentality remain. How can this fair encourage the meeting and search for the right partners?

Print China is an international platform and we are therefore equipped to host both exhibitors and visitors from all over the world, fielding the tools needed to facilitate meetings. As for the Italian operators in particular, just yesterday we met several companies with which we are engaged in the search for partners with which to develop the Chinese market: on the basis of the information they provide us, we will work to identify the most suitable operators. In this we are facilitated by the relationship between the fair and the builders association, which I personally chair: a closeness that allows us to get to know this world very well and to be able to effectively respond to the individual requests that companies might make to us.