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India and China take different paths

The South China Label Show is held in Guangzhou and gives converters in the massively industrialized southern regions a chance to see the latest developments in label technology. Although the major Labelexpo Asia event is held in Shanghai this year, many southern converters are reluctant to make the journey north.
The show saw an increase in visitors of over 25 percent compared to the last edition two years ago, with a total of over 5,000 converter visitors.  Numbers of exhibitors increased from 90 to 150, and one quarter of the exhibition space has already been rebooked for 2014.

But there was not a single Western press on display at the show. Nuova Gidue was the only company with a stand (and reporting brisk interest in its machines).  Apart from one small flexo stack, virtually all the presses at the show were Chinese manufacturers of intermittent offset and letterpress machines. This raises big questions about why flexo is seemingly failing in China, and why the major Western manufacturers are finding it so difficult to find sales model which work. Omet has made perhaps the biggest effort in China following Mark Andy, Gallus and Nilpeter’s withdrawal from Labelexpo Asia, but has now stopped building presses in the country.

It is certainly not that Chinese converters do not want to buy international equipment. HP had the biggest stand at the show, exhibiting a wide range of printing and finishing kit, and reported substantial interest from key regional converters.

By complete contrast, Labelexpo India, held in Delhi in October and attracting over 8,000 visitors – up one third from 2010 – was an overwhelmingly international event, with all the key global press manufacturers present, either directly or through agents. Everyone sells machines here, ramping up from entry level to more sophisticated mid-range models, and Indian converters remain resolutely internationalist in their outlook.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Thomas is strategic director of Labels & Labeling.

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