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A New Chapter(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 01,2006)

The inaugural Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair debuts amid great excitement at AsiaWorld-Expo at Hong Kong's International Airport, Chek Lap Kok, from April 8-11. Industry leaders, exhibitors and buyers alike have all expressed delight that this important sector finally has its own business and promotion platform.

The fair, co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and the CIEC Exhibition Co (HK) Ltd (CIECHK), has attracted more than 120 exhibitors from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia in addition to participants in a special pavilion for the Chinese mainland.

"Along with everyone else, we are excited at this opportunity to showcase Hong Kong's expertise and excellence in the fields of printing and packaging," says TDC senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick.

"Printing and packaging are fundamental to almost every industry, and this fair will provide a wonderful example of the get-up-and-go spirit of Hong Kong, further confirming our reputation for pace-setting dynamism, initiative and originality."

Chick adds that the fair intends to clearly prove that, for quality printing and packaging at competitive prices, Hong Kong deserves its hard-fought place among the very best in the world. "Yet another draw card is that this will represent an invaluable opportunity for one-stop sourcing in both these fields," she says.

The fair will feature all aspects of the printing and packaging industry, including graphic arts and design, the latest printing and packaging technology, machinery and equipment, multimedia technology and services, digital inkjet printing and signage and equipment maintenance and repair.

These areas and more will be of immense interest to the thousands of print managers and brokers, publishers, merchandisers, packagers, advertising agents and design houses and printers of all types of publications and items ranging from newspapers and magazines to labels and tags expected to throng the exhibition area.

CIECHK director Xie Sen Shu points out that Hong Kong printers and packaging suppliers are supported by highly professional back-up services covering copywriting, translation, editing, creative design and even stock photo libraries.

"Apart from equipment and consumables, the fair also features printing houses which provide printing and packaging services to companies like banks, travel agencies, hotels, retailers and advertising professionals that demand more such products and services," he adds.

"The mainland is the major producer of both machinery and consumables worldwide, and is held in high regard for her printing and packaging machinery," says Xie, "particularly throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East. I therefore believe that the fair will provide the best trading platform for the sale and export of such machinery."

"Attendees should take special note that the venue is AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong's recently opened exhibition centre adjoining Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok," says TDC's Chick. "This offers the convenience of ready access for buyers, people in the trade and other interested parties flying in from overseas. The site is one minute by train from the airport station, and the fair is being held in Halls 5 and 7."

Hong Kong looks likely to once again make its mark as Asia's leading exhibitions centre.

Full Industry Support For New Fair

Enthusiasm is running high for the inaugural Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair that is expected to open a new chapter for Hong Kong's ever-growing and super-efficient service industries.

For example, Wong Demao, executive vice-chairman of the Printing & Printing Equipment Industries Association of China, says: "The fair is destined to become the platform for the mainland's printing enterprises to explore export opportunities, and will act as a bridge for mainland and overseas industry participants to exchange technologies and foster economic and technological cooperation."

He goes on to say that the printing and packaging industries are one of Hong Kong's pillars, ranking high in terms of gross output, with a close cooperative relationship with its counterparts on the mainland.

"With its rapid development over the past 20 years, the mainland's printing industry now has an annual gross output of US$28bn, while the value of exported printing equipment and services is US$150m," he adds.

Concurring with these sentiments is James Lee, chairman, Hong Kong Printers' Association: "The Hong Kong printing industry has worked hard to establish its reputation for quality and reliability, and to achieve its global ranking. This event ... is timely not only for Hong Kong printers but for the regional industry as well. It is an opportunity to show our expertise and extend our business to new markets."

Also positive is Enphy Cheung, chairman, Hong Kong Packaging Institute: "Our packaging industry is looking to develop overseas markets and this exhibition is the way to show their products or services to overseas customers. In addition, Hong Kong companies can act as a go-between for foreign companies and mainland manufacturers."

Candy Tam, chairman, Graphic Arts Association of Hong Kong says: "The fair will allow us to showcase our services in job management, technical consultancy and market expertise to the world. Hong Kong is a full-service printing and production centre offering end-to-end services from concept, translation and design to logistics and distribution. Hong Kong designers provide a very high standard of design, supporting our print suppliers' pledges for fast turnarounds, extraordinary value for money and high quality printing."

With such support, a successful debut for the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair seems assured.

WRITTEN BY GEOFFREY SOMERS

Hong Kong's Print Industry Well Established

Hong Kong is one of the world's four largest printing centres, and the acknowledged Asia-Pacific hub of the international printing and packaging industries. Its annual gross output of printing and packaging materials is now estimated at US$4.7bn.

Both industries have enjoyed remarkable expansion over the past decade, leveraging on the transformation of the neighbouring Pearl River Delta (PRD) region into the new manufacturing colossus of the mainland. As the PRD's factory belt produces a huge volume of consumer items for international markets, so demand has grown for the sophisticated printing and packaging products that play a vital role in their successful marketing.

This demand is expected to grow still further now that the mainland is further opening up to global trade since it gained membership of the WTO. A second important factor is the burgeoning mainland market itself, with greater prosperity spreading among a growing percentage of its 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Neighbouring Guangdong Province handles almost a third of all the mainland's printing and packaging output, at a value of US$8.5bn in 2004. About one-quarter of this amount is exports. To keep pace with the southern mainland's ever-expanding export trade, the province's printing industry is expanding at 15%-20% a year.

Meanwhile, direct neighbour Hong Kong enjoys inter-government cooperation and complementary advantages that are stimulating the rapid growth of the two industries on either side of the border.