A survey of international suppliers for package printing in Asia - Part 3

Is the packaging industry’s future Asian?

With a glimpse towards the future, Flexo & Gravure Global asked a ­variety of suppliers to the package printing industries for their thoughts and strategies around the expanding Asian markets. Collectively, each respondent emphasized that their growth strategies revolve around and often hinge upon successfully navigating the changing economics and demographics involved in Asia’s financial expansion.

By Michael Buchsbaum

 

Andrea Toschi, Area manager, Grafikontrol
1) How would you describe the importance and value of the growing Asian package printing markets to your firm?

Grafikontrol has now created an ingrained presence in the European and American markets. The growth of the Asian packaging markets and the possibility to penetrate them, is for us, of great importance. We have to keep in mind that Asia is more than four times larger than Europe and has about three-fifths of the world population.

 

2) What are the challenges that western firms face when trying to enter those markets? Can you broadly describe your company’s entry strategy?

Entering into these markets involves taking two aspects into consideration: the different cultural mindset and the presence of local competitors. We have selected some countries of major importance and we are approaching them one by one, making ourselves known and establishing a relationship of confidence with customers. Our strategy is to offer high quality products with superior performance. But, above all, we are supplying a professional local after-sale service. This approach has led us to co-operate with the customers of prime size in the relevant markets.

 

3) What are the factors that you feel will affect the growth of the packaging and printing industries and markets in Asia over the next five to ten years? And how are you tailoring your product lines to fit the needs and demands of the region?

We believe that the growth of the packaging markets is ­tethered not only to a growth in the standards of living of the ­population, but also to a larger ­export of their products to other territories and markets. The achievement of high performances are guaranteed by state-of-the-art technologies combined with modern, intuitive and user-friendly graphic interfaces.

Silvana Ilari, Communication manager, Bobst Group
1) How would you describe the importance and value of the growing Asian package printing markets to your firm?

The Asian packaging market is very diversifie. On the one hand, there are highly developed countries like Japan and South Korea which are comparable with North American and European markets in terms of demands for quantity and quality of packaging. There are also countries like India and China with extremely fast growing packaging markets in which demand is driven by demographic changes and growth in the retail sector. They do an increasingly good job at leveraging technology for sustainable growth.
On the other hand, there are countries with developing economies like Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos where packaging is mostly used to fulfill its basic function of simply protecting goods. Bobst is a global supplier of equipment and services to the packaging industry and the very comprehensive range of equipment we produce is developed to fulfill the diverse requirements of converters anywhere in the world.

 

2) What are the challenges that western firms face when trying to enter those markets? Can you broadly describe your company’s entry strategy?

To be able to respond to emerging demands with the right kind of equipment means that it must perform efficiently while taking into account market specificities as to the type of consumables, like inks or adhesives used (which can differ greatly in Asia). This has a bearing on the equipment’s operational efficency and the quality of the output. The ­other challenge, after the supply of equipment, is to be able to ­provide an after sales service that can be available 24/7 for remote troubleshooting and/or close-by for in-the-field requirements while being able to speak the local language.
We can say that Bobst’s entry strategy has been “forward thinking,” having started with local offices in the key countries of India and China in 1994 and 1997, respectively. This has enabled Bobst to establish a strong foothold in Asia and leverage both the performance of our platform and also strong local sales and service teams with a presence in most countries. In terms of service support, Bobst customers in Asia can rely on an extensive services portfolio which is constantly developed and tailored to the specific requirements of the Asian markets. There are four Bobst spare parts and consumable distribution centres located in Asia for timely and effective action. We also have numerous teams of highly trained, in-the-field service engineers. We are ­constantly adding to their number as required by our increasingly market-oriented organization.

 

3) What are the factors that you feel will affect the growth of the packaging and printing industries and markets in Asia over the next five to ten years? And how are you tailoring your product lines to fit the needs and demands of the region?

Apart from demographic changes and growth in the retail sector, a preference for flexible packaging in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industries will be one of the main drivers for the packaging industry. To meet the market demands in Asia, we will continue putting our focus on machines that cover a wide range of applications, that deliver consistently high quality and that are easy to handle. To adapt our ­product portfolio to the diversified demands, we will continue to offer different degrees of automation which are immediate and easy to use.
We have also developed country-specific solutions. For Bobst web-fed equipment for instance, our gravure presses offer the option of inking systems such as the MPI (Multi-purpose inking) which is specially suited for printing at high speed with a market-specific variety of inks, or the Bobst HMI featuring intuitive pictograms. It, like other Bobst machines, is available in languages like Chinese so that equipment operators can work in their mother tongues on different lines with the same interfaces. In the current packaging world, where process technologies traverse different packaging market segments, this is a huge advantage to the efficiency of converting operations. Green consumerism is also growing strongly in Asia along with legislation and companies incorporating sustainable growth strategies with environmental protection measures. We support this trend in Asia and world-wide by having a strong ­focus on the development of technologies such as energy curable and water-based ink printing solutions.

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