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A Winning Streak(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 01,2008)

Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair

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The Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair has firmly secured a prominent spot on the global trade calendar

Building on the success of its first two editions, the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair looks set to draw an even more enthusiastic response from the industry in 2008.

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."

Ms 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 books.

Ms 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," Ms Ma says. "Whereas most boxes used to be rectangular in shape, for example, now the irregularly-shaped varieties are more 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.

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

Mr 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."

Mr Lim says that Starlite will be looking to attract international buyers looking for 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 (HKTDC) Senior Exhibitions Manager Agnes Chan says the ongoing success of this event reflects Hong Kong's important role in the international printing and packaging industry.

Ms Chan 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," she says.

Top exhibitors from China have confirmed their participation, and fully 17 of them among the "Top 100 Printing Firms" ranked by the mainland's Printing Manager magazine:

  • Starlite Holdings Ltd
  • Luk Ka Int'l Ltd
  • Hong Kong Yuto Printing Co Ltd
  • Artron Enterprises (Group) Ltd
  • Shanghai Zidan Printing Co Ltd
  • Sunglo Printing Group Co Ltd
  • Zhongshan Liford Nameplate Inc
  • Shanghai Tobacco Packing Printing Co Ltd
  • The Shanghai People's Printing Fty No.8
  • Shanghai Printing Group
  • Man Sang Envelope Mfg Co Ltd
  • XinYa Investment Group of China
  • Shanghai Jielong Industry Group Corp Ltd
  • Shenzhen SGY Printing Co Ltd
  • Shenzhen Nine Stars Printing and Packaging Group Ltd
  • Sichuan Yibin Push Group 3D Co Ltd
  • Zhongshan Zhongyong Products of Paper Printing Co Ltd

"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 a 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 networking events will also allow industry players to build up relationships with others in the business.

Hong Kong shipped some US$3.24bn in packaging materials in 2007, when printed matter exports surged 10% to US$2.46bn. "These figures reaffirm Hong Kong's status as one of the world's four leading printing and packaging centres," Ms Chan says.

The fair is again organised by the HKTDC 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," Ms Chan remarks.

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

Text By Robert pierce