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A Winning Start(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 02,2007)

Hong Kong Int'l Printing & Packaging Fair


It looks as if the Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair is destined to become a firm favourite with industry players

The success of the first Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair suggested that it would be a hard act to follow, but 2007 proved everyone wrong. For 2008, the industry is expected to respond even more enthusiastically.

Rebecca Ma, deputy general manager of 1970-established Luk Ka Int'l Ltd, certainly agrees. "We participated in the first two fairs," she relates. "We saw more visitors in 2007 than 2006, and hope to see even more in 2008. We will be especially keen to meet importers from the US and Europe, which are our main markets."

Ma also believes the Chinese mainland is the fastest-growing market. "As China's economy improves there is increasing demand for quality packaging," she states.

The firm's main lines include gift boxes, stationery items, high-quality corrugated boxes and paper bags, printed labels, flexographic-printing and children's books.

Ma says that demand is also driving changes in technology, especially for special effects. "For example, buyers of finished products want to have texture differentiation on their finished items."

She views the industry as being both dynamic and versatile. "We focus on sophisticated products and our designs are sometimes quite unusual because consumers today demand variety," Ma says. "Whereas most boxes used to be rectangular in shape, for example, now irregularly-shaped varieties are becoming popular."

Also looking ahead is Richard Lim, senior vice president marketing and sales at Starlite Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong supplier of print and paperboard packaging.

"There's a high chance we will participate in 2008 because at the first two events we achieved our targets in terms of new customer connections," says Lim. "We will sell our printing services and design capabilities, display some of our new technologies and show our new finishing effects."

Lim is keen on innovation and trends. "On the technological front, flexographic-printing will be big in the industry," he believes. "We are evaluating if we should offer this service. As for market trends, whereas we used to print large volumes we are now seeing more customers calling for small-quantity runs, and lots of variations."

Lim says that Starlite will be looking to attract international buyers seeking luxury packaging and paper products such as books, stationery and albums.

Starlite's main product lines are industrial packaging and paper products, and customers include renowned multinational companies, international publishers and retailers worldwide.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick says the ongoing success of this event reflects Hong Kong's important role in the international printing and packaging industry.

Chick also has every expectation that the event will continue to grow. "The printing and packaging industry on the mainland is rapidly growing and becoming more sophisticated and the extent of this progress will be on display at the fair, which really does act as a beacon for the entire industry," Chick says.

"In 2008, we will stage an even more comprehensive event, one that will provide a definitive picture of the very latest trends and technology in printing and packaging," she adds. "We will also host seminars and forums on many pressing industry issues."

The fair features four special themed zones, enabling trade visitors to easily identify those companies most relevant to their needs. The zones are:

  • Integrated Pre-press Service Square -providing opportunities for exhibitors to meet buyers who are looking for creative skills and technical expertise that help foster world-class marketing and stronger competitive edge
  • Sign and Display Pavilion - showcasing the increasing range of display and signage options available today
  • Digital Printing and Office Automation Equipment Pavilion - a business platform for those companies offering flexibility, short lead times and customised printing services
  • Used Machinery Square - showcasing used printing and packaging machinery to encourage environmental awareness

The fair not only acts as a place for suppliers and buyers to do business, it is also an important information exchange platform. New directions in technology, product development and markets are explored through a series of seminars and forums, chaired and addressed by industry experts.

A number of after-hours networking events allow industry players to build up relationships with others in the business.

Hong Kong's printing and packaging exports in the first half of 2007 were about US$2.6bn, a 6% increase over the same period a year earlier. "These figures reaffirm the SAR's status as one of the world's top four printing centres, along with Germany, Japan and the US," Chick says.

The fair is again organised by the TDC in conjunction with CIEC Exhibition Co (HK) Ltd, and is co-organised by the Hong Kong Printers Association and the Graphic Arts Association of Hong Kong.

"It is also interesting to find that many international visitors are keen on the venue, Hong Kong's newest and largest exhibition facility, AsiaWorld-Expo, which is located close to Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok," Chick says.

It looks as if the Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair is destined to become a firm favourite.