NPES Explores Printing Industry in South China

Kevin McLaughlin, President, Flexo Concepts and Nick Bruno, President, Harris and Bruno, outside the hall for Printing South China 2010.

Located on the banks of the Pearl River on the outskirts of Guangzhou, China, is the China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex, which is a large, ultra-modern facility that hosts the Printing South China trade show. NPES hosted a trade mission in conjunction with the show that took place from March 9-12 and coupled a visit to the show with plant visits in Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Nick Bruno, President of Harris and Bruno and Kevin McLaughlin, President of Flexo Concepts joined NPES China Representative, Ya-Ping Zhou and NPES VP Global Programs, Kip Smythe to better understand the opportunities in South China.

Located in Guangdong province, Printing South China had a heavy emphasis on package and label printing which mirrors the composition of the printing industry in the region. According to Li Jiong, the Vice-General Secretary of the Guangdong Printing and Replicating Industrial Association, “there are about 19,000 total printing companies in the province and about 10,000 of those printers are involved in packaging NPES Explores Opportunities in South China related print products.” The total production of those packaging printers was 140 million RMB ($20,487,305 US) of which about 40 million RMB ($5,853,515 US) was exported, mainly to other adjacent Asian countries. About 60% of the output is folding cartons, 10% corrugated, 10% flexible packaging, 10% labels and 10% miscellaneous packaging.

Clearly, packaging is the main focus of the printers in the region, however there are printing firms that concentrate on books and other printed products, and our visit to the Leo Paper Group Heshan Astro Printing Plant provided us with a glimpse of how fast China’s printing industry has grown. After a 2.5 hour ride to the outskirts of Guangzhou, we arrived at what we immediately recognized as a printing plant that was its own little city. High rise apartments to house the workers, a fire department, a medical facility, movie theatre, playgrounds, soccer fields, and basketball courts were all part of this enormous facility. The main 100 sheetfed offset presses (all at least 4-color and many perfecting too) in several buildings at this huge facility…5.7 million square feet huge, that is! The products printed by the 21,000 people who work there include:

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