The South Asia region is large and comprises a group of seven countries with numerous political systems, cultures, religions and languages and a combined population of close to 1.4 billion. The recent increase in the rate of economic growth has naturally meant that more packaging and converting businesses are also ready to look more thoroughly at new suppliers and technologies. The news of the fast growing packaging industry in our region is beginning to have an impact on exhibition organisers around the world.
The major European (and possibly world wide) show for the packaging industry in 2009 will be the simultaneous events in Milan of Grafitalia, Converflex, Ipack-Ima, and Plast in the last week of March. The first three events have common management and visitors will be able to take part in them with just one ticket. Grafitalia and Converflex are a combination of a print and converting show while the much larger Ipack-Ima is dedicated to processing, packaging and material handling. Italian manufacturers are particularly strong in flexo and gravure and flexible packaging technologies and this will certainly be the most important platform for them.
Plast is an important exhibition for the plastic and rubber industries (similar to K) also alongside the other three events at the Fiera Milano but has a separate organiser. Visitors to the first three shows are also likely to visit Plast even if they have to get a separate ticket. The simultaneity and large scale of Plast makes the entire event of four closely related exhibitions unusually comprehensive and interesting.
The strength of the Italian manufacturers in flexography and rotogravure as well as converting, material handling, logistics, and in plastic and rubber technologies make this a compelling event to plan for in 2009. We are even hoping to see some of the South Asian companies as exhibitors. A survey of visitors to the last Converflex showed that 38 per cent of the visitors had sole decision-making power, while 43 per cent influenced buying decision.
India, which imported only 10.45 million Euros of Italian printing and converting equipment in 2005, doubled these imports to 20.35 million Euros in 2006 and increased them by another 12.2 per cent in 2007 to 22.835 million Euros. Our own guess is that the seven South Asian countries combined, will import Italian printing and converting equipment and technologies of approximately 30 million Euros in 2008 and anywhere from 33 to 35 million Euros in 2009.
Milan itself is a vibrant and complete city. Known as the design and fashion capital of Europe, it is located in a region with a great deal of manufacturing industry as well. It is one of most beautiful and historic cities of the modern world and connects by subway and train to the Fiera Milano.
The Fiera Milano itself is a work of architectural genius inspired both by the Italian art tradition and Milan’s aspiration to be known as the capital of fashion and modern industrial design. Designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and covering more than 2 million square meters, the Fiera Milano is much larger than the Messe Dusseldorf facilities and is one of the largest buildings in Europe. Completed in 2005, it has a 1,300 metre transparent central axis on two levels that integrates and connects the reception, exhibition, conference, restaurant, and office spaces.
The transparent connecting structure is suspended above landscaped pools of water and green areas that connect, soften, illuminate, and modify the spaces between the rectangular exhibition halls. The glass structural roof or veil undulates like a natural river or landscape with waves, hills, dunes and craters. The play of light through the continuous and diaphanous structure is full of movement and an inspiration to modernity in practical applications.