Firsthand Experience — Made in China

Regis Delmontagne teaching a Printing class in China.

Why is this important to the United States and Western world, and what does it have to do with the educational systems at RIT and Cal Poly, for example?

First, the Chinese government identifies industries that it wants to grow and employ a large number of Chinese—and one of those industries is printing/packaging. Secondly, once the industry is selected, financial assistance is provided in various forms, one of which is scholarships to deserving students. Finally, while RIT and Cal Poly are years ahead as far as teaching, and are more than adequately equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, both schools are not exactly overflowing with students. The opposite is true in China today. (When I was president of NPES, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars via the GAERF to entice and encourage high school students to consider a career in printing…without much success.)

When you couple their dedication with the fact that the brightest Chinese students end up in graduate schools in the United States, Germany, England and Italy—and return to China energized and knowledgeable—perhaps one is starting to get the picture. The picture is: You now have a large pool of well-educated, dedicated professionals who are fluent in English.

The one drawback I saw on this recent stay was the apparent lack of full utilization of equipment because of poor maintenance and lack of continuing training for both new and seasoned operators. While the Chinese do have modern printing plants, in many cases, they fail to obtain the profit that they should be generating with new equipment, software and systems. That will change over time!

The fact that various studies predict the printing market in China is expected to double in the next five years—from about $50 billion to $100 billion—clearly demonstrates that there are a lot of positions to be filled, and much new equipment, software and accessories to be purchased. Overcapacity may be a new problem for the Chinese.

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