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Next China Print may be bigger than drupa, says Alon Bar-Shany

Wednesday, 13 May 2009
By Print21

HP Indigo vice president predicts the shift in printing power to Asia will see the regional exhibition outpace the established European and US shows.

Reflecting the supply side’s need for substantial equipment orders to flow from China Print 2009, Bar-Shany gave expression to what many in the industry are thinking. With printing markets around the world flat at best and with equipment investment on hold, the booming growth in Asia, especially China, will translate into continued growth for the country’s major printing exhibition.

HP, along with all the other major suppliers, are treating this China Print 2009, which opens today in Beijing, as the best opportunity this year to boost orders. The offset press manufacturers in particular need to score some runs here.

According to Bar-Shany, the growth of HP Indigo press business in Asia more than justifies the company holding its InfoTrends event in Beijing. With 47 percent annual growth in the Asia Pacific, HP Indigo is looking to China to fuel its ongoing 25 percent annual growth. There are approximately 5,000 HP Indigo presses installed around the world, but only 200 in China.
In stark contrast to the gloom emanating from many industry sectors, Bar-Shony was upbeat about the continued growth of digital print. In his keynote address in front of almost 700 HP Indigo owners, he predicted that by 2012 the dollar value of digital print will exceed that of offset.

The spectacular increase in the number of digitally printed pages – from one billion in 2000 to over 10 billion in 2208 – highlights the value proposition of the technology. Bar-Shany told of one HP Indigo customer setting a new record in April by producing 8.1 million impressions on an Indigo 7000. He also claimed there will be 100 billion digitally printed pages by drupa 2016.

This overall view was backed up by Jeff Hayes, president of research company InfoTrends, who predicted that analogue print pages will peak in the next few years and then start to decline. He made the point that while digital technology was an important enabler the biggest innovation is in the business model.

Exisiting applicatons of print will continue; there will always be demand for books, newspapers, marketing collateral and so on. What will change is how they are delivered and by what type of print service provider.
He said web to print will provide one of the most dramatic shifts. Corporations surveyed claimed they saved 14 per cent when buying print over the web while web enabled print service providers (PSPs) said they increased margins by 10 percent.

For HP Indigo PSPs he said the focus should be on providing multi-channel communications. It is important that they develop the skills to provide corporate marketing managers with a full service marketing solution. He advised them to ‘walk the talk’ by investing in CRM systems for their own business in order to be able to understand the value proposition.
In a fine example of new business talk, he concluded by advising printers to ‘webify’ their business.

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