China’s
Zhou Xiang, general manager of Weigang

The development of digital printing technology in China’s label market is seeing its share of ups and downs, especially after the shortage of raw materials and workforce during the pandemic. Some press manufacturers are broadening their application areas while others are persisting in their core areas. However, all see environmental sustainability as a challenge for the label and packaging sector.

A key region for the label and package printing industry, South China is looking forward to hosting Labelexpo South China 2024, once again, at the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center from 4 to 6 December. 

China’s
Pulisi Aobead digital press

Based on traditional offset and flexo printing equipment for many years, Weigang launched its digital print equipment in 2023 in answer to market demand. “Compared with traditional printing, digital technology presents broader market applications, such as the popular personalized variable data, short order business, and a quicker production process and delivery time,” Zhou Xiang, general manager of Weigang said.

Traditional flexo printing and digital printing technology will reach a balanced state after a period of development and play different roles in their respective fields, he says. “In addition to serving local customers, Weigang actively develops overseas markets, and the proportion of overseas business has reached a quarter of the company’s total business. Their presses have been exported to more than 80 countries in Europe, America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, including India.

According to Lynn Lin, director of Pulisi, the development of China’s label market has entered a stable state. “With the expansion of international machine manufacturer’s production bases, the downgrade of consumption, and the escalation of the trade war, the development rate of China’s label market will inevitably slow down in the future.”

China
Lynn Lin, director of Pulisi

In fact,” he says, “the speed of domestic economic recovery after the pandemic has not reached our expectations. Fortunately, Pulisi laid out overseas markets in advance, and the overseas proportion of the company’s business reached 40% in 2023 and is expected to grow to 60% this year. At the same time, digital printing technology with low energy consumption and less waste also helps the process of sustainable development in this industry.”

Based on its accumulated experience, customer feedback and resources in the inspection area, Pulisi launched its digital printing equipment in March 2021. Since then, the company’s digital printing installations have reached more than 150 units in China, Korea, Russia, India, North America, and Europe.

India is the fifth largest economy and we are very optimistic about this market. Pulisi has established a service and after-sales team in India to provide local technical support. However, we have to admit that the several geopolitical or international relation crises have brought many uncertainties to the business expansion in the Indian market,” Lin said.

A note to label converters

China’s label printing industry is paying more and more attention to environmental protection. While the relevant national and local environmental protection policies are increasingly strict, more consumers and brand owners are paying attention to sustainability.

To achieve environmental goals, the label printing industry needs to make efforts in aspects ranging from materials, ink, printing process, and post-press processing to delivery management, in which the whole chain of suppliers should participate. In addition to the retail apparel segment, RFID tag applications in aviation, automotive, and logistics industries are also increasing, and its growth rate exceeds previous expectations.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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