Drupa Daily: Strategic transition of China’s printing industry

In 2009, China had 101,566 printing enterprises, which employed 3.78 million people. The industry’s fixed assets totaled 800billion yuan, its annual output value was 636.7 billion yuan, its tax payment was 60.3 billion yuan and its export trade reached 43.913 billion yuan. Compared with the previous year, the number of printing enterprises rose 4.6% and their total output value rose 9.1%. The geographic profile of the printing industry was basically rational, with the Bohai Rim specialising in publication printing, the Yangtze River Delta in packaging and decoration printing, and the Pearl River Delta in foreign trade printing. At present, the Pearl River Delta accounts for 80% of the export trade of China’s printing industry. These three industrial belts have fully tapped their regional advantages and promoted the development of ImageChina’s printing industry.

Economic development
The year 2011 was a crucial year for China to maintain fast and steady economic development and change the mode of economic development. The National People’s Congress adopted the Report on Government Work and the Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development made by Premier Jiabao Wen. As the programme of action for the next five years, the Plan has 24 main indicators. In addition to the 7% economic growth rate, other indicators cover restructuring, science and technology, education, resources, environment and people’s lives. The plan also contains major policy measures to ensure faster and better development of China’s economy and society. Accordingly, China’s printing industry will have more development opportunities in the course of serving these economic and social developments.
12th Five-Year Plan
According to the Plan for the Rejuvenation of Cultural Industries promulgated by the Chinese government in August 2009, the printing industry must develop high-tech printing and special printing, and build several advanced printing and reproduction bases. The government must increase inputs and drastically increase central fiscal support for the “special fund for the development of cultural industries”, implement tax policies, increase financial support, and establish investment funds for cultural industries. In compiling the 12th Five-Year Plan for the development of the printing industry, the relevant departments of the Chinese government emphasised that the main thrust of development must become building a green and environmentally-friendly printing industry and making China’s printing industry more competitive.
Digital printing
In order to achieve these goals, printing and related industries in China will focus efforts on six areas. First, they will implement the “digital printing and printing digitisation” project. This project includes the application and demonstration of content databases, the RD of CTP technologies, including equipment and plates, research, application and demonstration of digitised printing, production and management processes, the RD of key digital control technology for high-performance printing equipment, the development of digital technology for a Chinese font database, and the construction of a demonstration base for the development and industrialisation of the key production technologies for nano-plate making.
Green printing
Second, they will implement the project of “establishing environmental system for printing and developing new technologies for green printing”. This includes two aspects. On one hand, government departments must formulate plans for industrial macro-regulation to adjust and optimise industrial structure, set up strict environmental standards and establish environmental monitoring systems for the printing industry, eliminate outdated modes of production, serious environmental pollution and high energy consumption, and introduce technological standards for ink and printing products carrying environmental logos.
First of all, they must introduce a green printing approval system for teaching materials, children’s reading materials, government procured items and the soft packaging of food and medicine. They must also accelerate RD of printing machines with broadband satellite, high-speed and flexible plating, environmentally-friendly flexible printing plating materials, the research, development and manufacture of water ink and core resin, the development and application of environmentally-friendly pre-coating membrane technology, and the construction of key laboratories for environmentally-friendly printing technologies and industries.
Internationally competitive
Third, they will optimise corporate structures and cultivate core printing enterprises with international influence and brand-names that are internationally competitive. The main measures include: they must encourage and support core enterprises to conduct mergers and acquisitions, diversify production and operation, strengthen customer service, and develop printing-related production and services including content assets, creative design, information service, domestic and foreign markets, etc.; they must guide and support small and medium-sized enterprises to pursue specialisation and create international printing brands; they must establish mechanisms for the elimination of outdated printing production plants so that printing enterprises noted for outdated technology and equipment and serious pollution are forced out of the market.
Develop creative printing
Fourth, they will change the traditional mode of printing operation and boost the market competitiveness of enterprises. First, these enterprises must cooperate closely with content industries and develop databases for content assets. Next, they must vigorously develop creative printing. Third, they must emphasise customer service and use digital network technology to establish market service systems for operations and sales and establish modern logistics systems so that the printing industry can develop into a modern service industry.
Skills and qualifications
Fifth, they will train well-qualified personnel for printing. They should actively import, attract and train leading personnel for the development of printing technologies and enhance the industry’s innovation capacity. They should vigorously carry out vocational education and skill training, and organise national skill competitions so as to improve the job skills and qualifications of those working in the printing industry.
Working environment
Sixth, they will strengthen the cultural construction of printing enterprises and create a harmonious printing industry; properly handling the external and internal relations of the printing industry is imperative. Externally, we must promote coordinated development among related industries, such as publishing, distribution, advertising, media and the upper streams of printing equipment and materials. Internally, we must strengthen the construction of the good-faith system of the printing industry, standardise the order of the printing market, and create a market environment in favour of the industry’s development. In particular, we must practice the human-centred development concept so that those working in the printing industry can have a harmonious, pleasant and inspiring working environment and can truly become the masters of their enterprises.
By kind permission, this article was based on a speech by Pu Jialing (Vice President, Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication): “China’s Printing Industry: Present State and Opportunities”(Sydney, May 5, 2011). Edited by Ed Boogaard for drupa report daily.
The goal is to promote China’s printing industry by making it more competitive and at the same time by ensuring that it is a green and environmentally friendly industry
To develop into a modern service industry the Chinese printing industriy has to establish modern logistics systems
Economic and social development will generate opportunities
To satisfy China’s increasingly sophisticated demand and to be internationally competitive, the printing industry must develop high-tech printing and special printing
The Chinese printing industry is an important employer and the demand for well-trained professionals will remain high