Heidelberg Shanghai site successfully established in growth market of China

Market share in China over 50% - further expansion of the site planned

Benny Huang, CEO of Heidelberg Greater China, Sam Chong, Managing Director of Xian Jun Long Printing Co., Ltd. and Achim Mergenthaler, Managing Director of HGES (from left to right) celebrated the success of Heidelberg and Xian Jun Long’s cooperation.

In a festive ceremony at the production site Heidelberg Graphic Equipment Shanghai (HGES), the packaging printing company Xian Jun Long was presented with a certificate recognizing the manufacture of the 9,999 printing unit in China. In a greeting sent via video link, Rainer Hundsdörfer, chief executive officer of Heidelberg, paid tribute to the high level of commitment and successful engagement in China. “Our factory in Shanghai has proven a real success story for Heidelberg in our core business and for our customers. China is the largest individual market for us, and we want to continue to expand our market share of over 50% as well as our technological leadership in what is an important market for us by continuing our program of investment: we will be expanding our team in China in Service, Sales, and Production to over 1,000 employees in anticipation of strong market growth in China.” Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the print volume in China is once again picking up speed and has already exceeded the figures for the previous year.

Packaging printing company Xian Jun Long’s success with Heidelberg machines

The printing company Xian Jun Long in Shenzhen is set to take delivery of a Speedmaster CD 102-9+L featuring the 9,999th printing unit. As a special design feature, a picture of the Great Wall has been painted on all the printing units to tie in with the wall’s historical length of 10,000 li. Xian Jun Long is one of the leading packaging printing companies in China, specializing in packagings for spirits, cigarettes, and luxury goods. The partnership between Xian Jun Long and Heidelberg goes back twenty years – and the Speedmaster CD 102 with the 999th printing unit from the Shanghai plant is also in production there. “We already have the first Speedmaster CD 102-8+L from the Heidelberg Shanghai plant and look forward to the new Speedmaster CD 102-9+L in the usual Heidelberg quality due to be installed here in the near future. We will have another two sets of Speedmaster CD 102-8+L presses delivered to China Xian Jun Long Printing Group in August this year. Our goal is to grow successfully and to offer our customers products with more added value”, explained Kelvin Chong, Information Engineering Director of China Xian Jun Long Printing Group. The anniversary press is in operation as part of an extensive fleet of Speedmaster CD 102 and Speedmaster CX 102 systems.

Growth market China

Packaging printing in China is growing at greater speed and sustainability than globally. The Speedmaster CD 102 has long been a bestseller in the Chinese market – it is highly versatile, whether, for long or short runs, thin substrates or cardboard with thicknesses of up to a millimeter – the press offers outstanding productivity, quality, and value retention, and thus a high degree of investment security for customers. “The market in Asia is evolving, and we are seeing strong demand for customer-specific machines and a wealth of variants, especially for packaging printing,” explained Achim Mergenthaler, manager of the Heidelberg site in Shanghai. “We are proud of our high quality, which – thanks to the high standards of the Heidelberg production network – is equal to that of the machines from the production facility in Wiesloch-Walldorf.”

Heidelberg intends to further accelerate the expansion of its production in China. Over 30 % of all printing units are already built in China. The Shanghai production site will further increase the manufacture of standard models for the Chinese and Asian market and add special machine configurations, especially in packaging printing, to the portfolio. This will result in a competitive offering, particularly for the up-and-coming printing companies in China, which need the best machines in terms of productivity and quality and offer comprehensive solutions.

Heidelberg is therefore the only printing press manufacturer with the flexibility to offers its customers both locally manufactured machines as well as high-end machines from Germany.

“With the extended portfolio and higher production capacity in the Shanghai plant, we have reached a new milestone for Heidelberg China in further expanding our solutions for packaging printing,” explained Benny Huang, chief executive officer of Heidelberg Greater China at the festive presentation ceremony. “We have been producing the Speedmaster CD 102 in the Shanghai plant since 2009. It is a classic sheet-fed printing press for packaging, label, and commercial printing companies featuring increasingly innovative and optimized technologies that are widely accepted by and popular with Chinese users.”

Heidelberg Shanghai: a success story

The Shanghai production site has a workforce of around 430 people. Printing presses in 50 x 70 cm and 70 x 100 cm formats are produced there, mainly intended for sale in China, but also for other Asian markets and the rest of the world. Over 10,000 printing units have now been delivered over fifteen years.

The site in the industrial zone of Qingpu near Shanghai commenced operation in 2006, is built to modern standards, and now encompasses a production area of around 45,000 square meters, making it one of the biggest printing press factories in Asia based on square footage.

On-site customer events

The Print Media Center Shanghai is integrated into the Heidelberg Shanghai plant and serves as a central showroom for China, other Asian Pacific markets, and neighboring regions. Here, state-of-the-art technology and service solutions are presented, information events are held, and intensive tests and analyses of equipment, consumables, and workflow solutions are carried out. Customer operators are also trained here. The Print Media Center Shanghai has fully integrated workflows for commercial and packaging printers.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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