Print China 2019: Journey through the Chinese print district

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Dongguan, April 9-13, 2019. Now in its fourth edition, the younger sister of China Print (the first Chinese printing and converting fair, which takes place every four years in Beijing, also organized by Peiac) is growing steadily, and this year fields over 1200 international exhibitors covering over 140 thousand square meters.

According to official statistics, in China in 2016 there were about 101 thousand printers that generated a gross turnover of 1.15 trillion Chinese Yuan (renminbi), with an annual growth of 2.7%. Despite the considerable slowdown in growth, which until recently was around 6-7%, it is all the same a sector that generates enormous value in the country’s overall economy, and which sees a large concentration of companies to the south, where it constitutes a true and proper district on whose development the government of the country has invested great resources in structures and infrastructures. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the powerful industry entrepreneurs association Peiac, which organizes the two biggest printing and converting fairs not only in China but in all of Asia – China Print in Beijing and Print China in Dongguan – have organized the latter event in its current location. Merely three editions old (the fourth will be held from April 9th to 13th ), Print China takes place in the Guangdong region which, along with Guangdong itself (known as Canton to westerners), also features Hong Kong and Macao , together with Shenzhen and countless other key Chinese manufacturing centers.

Two hundred thousand visitors from all over the world
The importance of printing in China is due to historical, cultural and social reasons, in addition to the political choices that, here more than elsewhere, guide the evolution of the economy and that lie behind the scientific development of this “Greater Bay Area”. The industry is supported by a demand that is based, to cite only two factors of absolute importance, on the enormous number of students who work on printed textbooks and, on the packaging side, on the constant development of the demand for packaged goods. driven by the rapid penetration of modern retail. An enormous market which, moreover, is rapidly changing due to the effect of the measures adopted to make companies safer, environmentally more compatible and digitized, in the broader horizon of Industry 4.0, which lie behind the countless reasons of interest of the over 200 thousand visitors expected to visit Print China 2019. No difference, from this point of view, with the more advanced West, and this was borne witness to by the exhibitors who spoke at the recent international press conference at the beginning of the year (where our magazine Converting was the only Western publication invited) confirmed it. During the mega media event HP, Masterwork, Heidelberg, Konika Minolta, Bobst, Komori, Koenig & Bauer, Zhongde Group, Dinga and Founder Electronics shared sophisticated market analysis and development trends with hundreds of specialized journalists and business associations all over the world, depicting much the same scenario that we witness “chez nous” and certainly not presenting the low-end offer but rather the state of the art of technology.

What we will see at the fair

All the pavilions of the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center, including the one just built to make more room for the overflowing Peiac fair, will be occupied by exhibitors at Print China 2019. The exhibition district is saturated and could not satisfy all requests for participation, so much so that – according to rumours – after 4 years the fair will be moved to a new and more suitable center (maybe in nearby Shenzhen). The products at the fair are classified in macro categories that cover all the technologies and processing steps: digital prepress, digital screen printing, package printing, post-printing and finishing, label printing, AD and corrugated cardboard printing, equipment and consumables, automation and “frontier technologies”.

The weight of Italy and the Acimga collective
This is not surprising. According to updated market studies (see StudiaBo in Converting 1/2019), almost all imports of both printing machines and converting systems and equipment comprise high-end and mid-range products. And we are speaking about huge amounts in value: In 2018 the Chinese market was – after the United States – the world’s second largest importer of printing and paper processing machines (and absolute first regarding printing presses, accounting for 3.7 billion euros), the world’s fourth importer for converting machines (566 million euro ) and the second for book binding machines (292 million euros). Here Italian manufacturers play an important role, being first in the world ranking of printing machines suppliers, second in bookbinding machines, fourth in converting and tenth in both paper processing as well as mould preparation materials and machinery suppliers.. Hence it should come as no surprise that Print China hosts a delegation of Italian producers organized by Acimga, which debuts at the Dongguan fair after the positive previous experience in Beijing. Designated together with the leaders of the Italian association during Print4All, the undertaking was officially announced during the International Printing Conference.

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