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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY ® ... where print supplies excel in underpromising, overdelivering, and bucking the status quo. Printing in HONG KONG Special Report 2011 25th Annual Review

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P U B L I S H E R S WE E K L Y... where print supplies excel in underpromising, overdelivering,and bucking the status quo.Printing in HONG KONGSpecial Report 201125th Annual ReviewWWW. P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY. C O M 3Looking Better than EverThe fact that most printers we use are now located in large purpose-built plants with climate control instead of cramped high-rise factory buildings has changed the workflow, working environment, and logistics involved in printing a book. It has definitely improved the chance of getting a high-quality final result, says production director Neil Palfreyman at Thames & Hudson, noting that the massive leaps forward in prepress and press technology have also ensured much greater consistency in the printed result and higher chances of reproducing the original work, whether it is a painting, sculpture, photograph, or some other art form.What has not changed in the past 25 years is suppliers inventiveness and their willingness to find a solution to a prob-lem, be it some wild and wacky imposi-tion scheme or out-there style of bind-P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1ing. We have produced many limited editions in the past three or four years which, if somebody had asked me 10 years ago whether we could make those books, I would have said certainly not, says Palfreyman. Despite being approached by suppliers from Southeast Asia and beyond, Palfrey-man has yet to find a better balance of cost, service, and quality than those that he currently receives from his Chinese suppliers: However, the reality is that in this Amazon era, where so many books are discounted, consumers are looking for bargains as the norm, regardless of the costs that have gone into the making of the book. We will continue to look to our suppliers for better prices due to produc-tivity improvement and new, more effi-cient plant investment. Asked about the rise of tablets and e-book readers, he says, Either the soft-ware available is too limited for us to reproduce the more complex page lay-outs, or the screen size and tactile ele-ment are too limiting or lacking. Thames & Hudson wholly believes in the unique qualities of the book and the connection people make with it on a basic level. What you get on an e-book reader is What has changed, what remains the same, and what to expect nextLooking Backand AheadBy Teri TanIn 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers, Commo-dore launched the Amiga personal computer, Steve Jobs founded NeXT, and Bill Gates issued the first version of Win-dows. It was also the year PW launched the first report cover-ing the Asian printing industry, of which you are now holding the 25th annual issue. (In case you wonder about the calcula-tion, we skipped one year at the beginning.)Cover photo iStockPhoto/Nick M. DoSince then, we have narrowed our scope to cover mostly the industryinHongKong/China as it expands to become the worlds print manufactur-ing hub. Its evolution from mom-and-pop (or, to be precise, dad-and-son) shops into sleek multistory one-stop facilities makes for a fascinating story.Thebestcommentaryonthis change comes from industry experts and professionals who have been working with Hong Kong/China suppliers and print brokers all this while. They, more than others, have seen the ups and downs, challenges and opportunities, past and present. So PW calls on a few of these professionals to sum up the past two and a half decades or so of the Hong Kong/China print manufacturing industry.Back in 1985, Hung Hing, then located in a multistory industrial building in Tin Wan, Aberdeen, was just recovering from a severe fire that originated in a neighboring fac-tory. Production was halted for over a month, posing the first major chal-lenge in my career, recalls execu-tive chairman Matthew Yum, who eventually built his own factorynow housing around 300 employees and 10 pressesin Tai Po industrial estate. We were into packaging printing and corrugated carton man-ufacturing then, and we did not start childrens book manufacturing until after our first Shenzhen factory was established in 1990.25 YEARS AGO TODAY...another printer in another country. The latter has benefited Asian print suppliers enormously. Another major transforma-tion, he adds, is the rise of China as a viable source for printing Bibles on 28 gsm and higher for both short and long runs, from 3,000 to 300,000 copies.Bible translation used to take 30 years from start to finish, and typesetting the pages would require months to accom-plish. Now, with modern technology, the goal is to complete the translation within 10 years, and typesetting in a few days, of which more time is spent on get-ting the typography right, Hill says. On the not-so-good side, technology also allows us to make mistakes that much quickerlike sending an e-mail message in a matter of seconds that we regret immediately. For sure, Bible pro-P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P u b l i s h e r s we e k ly a u g u s t 8 , 2 0 1 1 4exactlythat:ane-book,whichisan approximation of the physical object. The physical and the digital are two dis-tinctly different products. However, the e-booktechnologyisdevelopingso quickly that we certainly do not want to stick our heads, ostrichlike, in the sand. We do not want to be a dinosaur looking over our shoulder asking, What meteor? At the same time, we do not want to be stuck with the publishing equivalent of the Betamax video player. We are devot-ing a lot of resources and money into developing a workable model.Digital printing, says Palfreyman, is still a long way off in making inroads into the kind of full-color illustrated book that he does. Sheet size limitation and high production cost make it com-mercially unfeasible. We printed a cou-ple of monochrome text-only titles digi-tally, but they were more of an experi-ment. The size of print runs for such titles still makes offset litho affordable for us. But as the pressure on inventory control increases, who knows what the future may hold. Not exactly light stuffIn the past 20 years, says Derek Hill, director of the British and Foreign Bible Society, innovations in prepress technol-ogy have transformed the printing indus-try. Shifting from mechanical artwork to digital files, especially PDFs, has resulted in lower production costs and faster turnaround, he says. It also pro-vides publishers with greater mobility, enabling work to be transferred easily fromoneprinterinonecountryto works thrown into the mix. And given the many creative paper engineers and artists working today, I am sure we will continue to see many wonderful pop-up books in the future.Pulp and Paper ChaseFor paper, the types demanded by the market have remained largely unchanged inthepasttwodecades,saysSimon Fung, general manager of Che San, one of Hong Kongs oldest and biggest paper merchants.Butinsteadofusingor stocking four to five brands of, say, coated paper, most printers and merchants now stock only two or three. Paper manufac-turers are facing just as hard a time as the rest of the print supply chain, and they are improving efficiencies by narrowing product grades. The pulp-and-paper industry has seen a lot of changes: mergers and acquisitions in Europe, scrap-and-build projects in Japan, and closures in Korea. In China, mills continue to expand rapidly, but the government has been shutting down thosethatarenotenvironmentally friendly. Every mill claims to be eco-friendly and sustainable, says Fung, buttowhatextentdocustomers demandproofofsuchclaimsFSC, PEFC, PREPS [Publishers Database for Responsible Environmental Paper Sourc-ing] or PCW [post-consumer waste]? At Che San, some customers only want to know if a mill is FSC-certified, but they end up buying non-FSC grade due to cost constraints. Others are interested to know where a specific mill sources its pulp, especially since Indonesia remains a sensitive area in terms of forest steward-ship. Volume-wise, FSC-certified papers account for less than 15% of total fine paper sales invoiced by Che San. The biggest change in the pulp-and-paper industry over the past 15 years, adds Fung, is the origin of paper. Today, most paper comes from China, says Fung. Back in 1994, it was primarily from Japan and Europe, and later from Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia. Previ-ous dependence on Japanese paper was evident from the impact of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, when coated paper P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P u b l i s h e r s we e k ly a u g u s t 8 , 2 0 1 1 6duction has come a long way. Now vari-ous formats are available, from the basic ink on paper to fashionable versions in denimmaterial,camouflagecolors, metalcases,orplushpolyurethane. Within the industry, we joke that one day we might produce the ideal Bible: pocket size but in large print.For Hill, Chinas continuing cost hikes and renminbi appreciation against the greenback will be the main factors chal-lenging publishers and Hong Kong/China print suppliers alike over the next three to five years. Increasing demand for ever-higher efficiencies will usher in more modern machinery that requires even less manpower, says Hill. At the sametime,competitivenessamong European and U.S. printers will improve due to more favorable currency exchange rates and proximity to the target mar-kets. For short-run printing, I foresee a substantial increase in print on demand for Bibles, possibly using inkjet technol-ogy instead of lithography.eye-popping ProgressFor pop-up creator and designer David Carter,therehavebeenthreemajor changes in the pop-up segment: The most important was the acceptance of the pop-upgenrebymajorpublishing houses. Then came the shift of manufac-turing from South America, specifically Colombia,toAsia,and,thirdly,the recent rise and decline of super-complex pop-ups. Carter was with Intervisualand liaising with top pop-up manufac-turerCarjavalinColombiabefore establishing his own paper engineering company 22 years ago.The main reason pop-up manufactur-ing moved from Colombia to Asia was because the latter provides much more competitive pricing, Carter says. Then again, manufacturing prices are always on the way up. In the future, it is possible that the manufacturing base will shift again. But for now, creativity in pop-ups means the ability to use less expensive manufacturing methods to rein in pro-duction costs. It also has to do with how the pop-up is used with the concept of the book and not necessarily with the complexityofthepop-upstructure itself. Advances in technology in the past 25 years have definitely made it much faster and less expensive to create pop-ups. Says Carter, Such progress is most evident in the prepress portion of a project, where the latest software is much more accurate in terms of color. But the greatest impact on pop-ups is still good old hand labor. The ability to manufacture super-com-plex pop-ups at a good price in Asia is the catalyst that has allowed pop-up artists everywhere to expand the art form. I have seen very complex titles created in the late 1970s and early 1980s that simply could not be manufactured at a reason-able price at that time. The current weak economy, he adds, has had a great impact, particularly on expensive and complex pop-ups. Nowa-days, both consumer and publisher are very sensitive to the retail price of a pop-up book. I believe we will continue to see expensive,complexpop-ups,butin much smaller numbers. As a designer, I am currently focused on simpler and less expensive designs with a few complex Regent Publishing Services began in the summer of 1985. An unem-ployed George Tai (having lost his job at a color-separation house) had coffee with a business friend at the Regent Hotel in Tsimshatsui, and both decided to set up a business together even though they did not have a single client. I used a friends officeanother color-sepa-ration houseto communicate with one U.K. publisher and obtained my first order: a repro job worth about $2,500 that provided a gross mar-gin of 50%. That was in October. Two months later, I moved into a 300-sq.-ft. office in Aberdeen and was joined by a junior secretary and a young production controller. And we went on from there.25 Years ago TodaY...www. p u b l i s h e r s we e k ly. c o m 7P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1prices rose to a historic high of $1,500 per metric ton due to reduced supply. The recent Japan earthquake, in com-parison,hadlittleimpactbecause imports of Japanese paper have been slid-ing since hitting the peak in the 1990s. In fact, in the aftermath of the disaster, Chinese paper exports to Japan have grown substantially, helping to ease oversupply caused by new capacity in China. The 2010 Chile earthquake, however,causedadifferentsortof upheaval. Since Chile is a major pulp supplier to China, the disaster caused a sharpspikeinpulppricesthatwas largely due to market speculation. Paper prices jumped 25% to 30% in a quarter before dropping to their original level six months later.With more Chinese pulp-and-paper capacity coming online in the months ahead, mostly riding on the growth of domestic demand, Fung says, Paper importsintoChinawillcontinueto drop,whileChinesemillswillface heightened pressure to increase exports. Those days of cheap paperand dump-ingfrom the West are over, and the paper industry will get more local. For major pulp-and-paper players, gaining any sizable share in a particular market will now involve local participation, be it via greenfield projects or through M&A deals. Consolidation will continue to occur and probably at a much faster rate than we have seen before.The e-volution of booksIn the printing industry, Hong Kong/China suppliers are fortunate in that most of the books they produce best are the ones not much affected by e-books and not very likely to beat least not in the next few years, observes Thad McIl-roy, San Franciscobased e-publishing consultant and president of the Web site The Future of Publishing. While full-color illustrated titles are well-suited to be recreated digitally, the unique experi-ence of holding and reading a beautifully printed art book still reigns supreme, he says. Most of the talk about enhanced e-books is just that: talk. And while some appealing and innovative work in e-book format has been done for this seg-ment, I do not get the impression that much money is being made.On the other hand, childrens books are really starting to find a home on e-readers. Recent announcements from LeapFrog,theleaderineducational entertainment, about its personalized learning tablet LeapPad will further acceleratethistrend,saysMcIlroy. However, while such sales are climbing, and once again some very innovative work is being done, physical book sales are not yet challenged in any important way. It is more an example of incremental revenue being generated by a new plat-form.In his opinion, the sweet spot for Hong Kong and China supplierswhich also represents a huge opportunity for inno-vation for publishers everywhereis in custom manufacturing. Referring to the segment that covers novelty titles and books with bells and whistles, McIlroy says, E-books offer ephemeral, two-dimensional experiences. Printed books, in contrast, are tactile and truly three-dimensional, and some tremendously creative work has already been done. I think the ball is in Hong Kong/China printers court to bring new capabilities and novel ideas to their clients. And it is far better for manufacturers to show off their capabilities than for a publisher to try to guess what might be done.The market for smart and fun ideas, he concludes, is always robust. Great print-ers who are efficient manufacturers will have opportunities for many years to come. After all, we are now in a new era in book publishing that has opportuni-ties everywhere you look.The Future is hereCertainly, the decade ahead will be a time of opportunity, creativity, and growth. It will also be a time of upheaval, evolution, and perhaps revolution in the print man-ufacturing industry. Looking back, no one could have imagined that an indus-try dominated by one single companywhich did not even own a printing press or scanner, but was responsible for nearly half of the books exported from Hong Kong in 1987, aka Mandarin Offsetwould expand into what it is today: a hub populated by modern production facili-ties with the best presses and technology money could buy. And just as PW began chronicling a new era in the industry some 25 years ago for the publishing community at large, we look forward to the coming years for yet more stories of outstanding progress, new milestones, and awe-inspiring projects from Hong Kong/China suppliers. nEight staff and two printing machines were the sum of Leo Paper back in 1982. The brainchild of two friends, Samuel Leung and Hok Hung Fung, the business, then located at A Kung Ngam Village in Hong Kong, was primarily focused on producing paper bags for U.S. clients. Seven years later, its first factory was established in Nanhai City, Guangdong province, effectively laying out the foun-dation for its ambitious expansion plan. In 1994, its primary operations and production were moved from Hong Kong to the present gargantuan Astros com-plex in Heshan city. Today, the company has more than 20 subsidiaries, over 18,000 staff, and 93 printing presses.25 Years ago TodaY...P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1see leaders, innovators, trendsetters, and game-changers within the industry. Col-lectively, they have built the Hong Kong and China printing industry to what it is today. Many of them, reviewed here in reverse alphabetical order, have appeared in this report since the first issue back in 1985. And while there are many more outstanding suppliers capable of provid-ing great quality, fantastic services, and reliable delivery, this report focuses on the feisty ones that are taking the boldest leap forward in such areas as green man-agement,productinnovation,color proofing technology, and digital print-ing. Our goal is to show what is achievable and desirable in a print supplier poised to meet the new age of Amazon, Google, and iPad head-on. These suppliers inno-vative and can-do spirit is what cost-conscious and deadline-driven publishers need in order to survive any downturn and reap profits during the boom time. As always, doing ones homework before selecting a supplier or signing a contract is essential.WKTwktco.comTwenty-five years ago, we were a small company, but with quite a big presence in the overseas markets that we chose to operate in. Even then, we opted to work directlywithourclients,andthat remains our policy to this day, says mar-keting director Jeremy Kuo. Techno-logical advances have made the business more challenging and demanding, espe-Suppliers are busy experimenting, innovating, and developing new products and servicesAiming for the Next Level of ExcellenceBy Teri TanConsider this: in 2010, imports of printed material and related products from Hong Kong and China to U.S. shores hit $2.397 billion (or nearly 45% of the category total). That is almost back to the pre-crisis level of 1998. Obviously, the outsourc-ing flow has not ebbed despite fervent calls for made-in-U.S.A. books. Then again, there is the slumping greenback and weak economy. For print suppliers, it is indeed the best of times and the worst of times.printing industries is unavoidable. Pub-lishers select sustainable and leading businesses as printing partners, and vice versa. But for the partnership to work and flourish, both parties have to sit down together and work things out, in addition to looking for innovative ways to add value and reduce costs. (Hint: dont expect the same prices as those quoted three or four years ago.)One thing characterizes Hong Kong and China suppliers: their total disregard for the status quo and for the forecast of doom and gloom. They see opportunities where others do notand they have the guts and vision to act on what they see. When PW looks at these suppliers, we Closure of big chains like Bor-ders or small indie bookstores translates into fewer outlets for selling print books. At the same time, e-publishing, hot as it is, is still a new venture with an uncertain future. Meanwhile, the soft U.S. and European economy adds considerable pressure to both publishers andprintsuppliers,saysexecutive chairman Matthew Yum of Hung Hing, pointing out that wages in China have risen around 20% per annum since 2009. The cost of materials and energy has also gone up, and currency exchange remains volatile. In light of these tough times, consolidation within the publishing and P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 8Jeremy Kuo, marketing director at WKTMMYYYKprocess to create novel printing, binding, and folding effects. Customers can bring in sketches and ideas, and our creative team will take care of the rest. Much of this growth, I believe, is due to our zeal-ousness in protecting clients intellectual property. As such, Im not at liberty to reveal project details beyond saying that some have been completed and proto-types are available for viewing at our U.S.,HongKong,andChinashow-rooms.In short, printing projects that com-bine special craftsmanship with meticu-lous printing are TSE Worldwides focus. The U.S. is still one of the biggest print buyers around. However, demand for high-quality printing from emerging markets such as Russia, the Middle East, and Brazil is growing. And that is partly because of Hong Kong print suppliers abilitytooffergreat valueatcompetitive prices, adds Tse. But the need for middlemen or regional offices, she says, is waning, as cli-ents are directly con-tacting Chinese print-ersthanks to technol-ogy and the Internet. However, there is ample room for creative folks likeustocarveour nicheinthemarket-place.When it comes to CPSIA compliance, Tse says, We have rejected several cli-ents who wanted to use noncompliant materials in the production process. We are all too aware of CPSIA-related con-cerns, as we review its legal requirements regularly and keep an eye on the latest lawsuits in this area. We are able to keep our clients up-to-date on safety guide-lines and make recommendations regard-ing the choice of materials at their end. And that, to us, is what value-added ser-vice means.Starlitehkstarlite.comA broad-based business plan has shielded P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 10cially in meeting client expectations. Clients now want a more complete buy-ing experience. Responding to inquiries, solving production problems, contribut-ing to product enhancement and cre-ationthese are all part of our daily rou-tine.But putting service first does not mean always saying yes. We believe that cli-ents value honesty. While it hurts busi-ness sometimes to say that we cannot do certain things, we feel that it is better in the long run. Kuo considers the past three years as one big project for WKT, one that will have a huge impact on the industry. His challenge, of course, is to convince the industry that his claim about his production teams ability to match color samples by any client is not outrageous. Firstly, there is D-Tone 5040K, our neutral-gray color bar. It answers one major question: how closely the proof matches the look of the printed page. In general, this is achieved using GRACoL and FOGRA standards, both working on the premise that if each out-put meets the standard, then you can be certain about what you will get on print. The problem is that while it is relatively easy to make digital proofs match these standards, it is difficult for printers to achieve the same throughout a print run. D-Tone 5040K is the solution. Kuo is now working on providing a printed sample to clients, as well as the originating file if requested. If the client produces a proof from a file that is based on FOGRA or GRACoL, they will find that it matches our sample. This reverse engineering will show that we can meet these standards using D-Tone, and that we are able to do the same for the whole print run. We can print without seeing the proofswhich happens for some projectsand it will match.Secondly, there is the use of stochastic/FM screening for every job that lands in WKT. The better contrast and the color gamut greatly enhance an image, adds Kuo.Lastly, there are the green aspects of the business. Our clients concern about having products that meet environmen-tal requirements has influenced every-thing that we have done companywide, and we are gaining recognition as a green factory that is focused on waste recycling and carbon footprint reduction. So, yes, we have indeed come a long way in 25 years, especially in the last few.TSE Worldwide PressTSEWorldwidePress.comWith the first phase of its U.S. office remodeling completed, TSE Worldwide now has an additional digital proofer to speed up proofing and a state-of-the-art videoconferencing setup to maintain constant contact with clients. Then there is high-endfurnishing and a modern decor to provide a stylish work-ing environment. Over in Hong Kong, we have acquiredanewoffice right off the harbor on Kowloons side to serve as a convenient stopover and a central meeting place for our clientsglobal,regional,and local, says CEO Sarah Tse, who also implemented a brand-new internal quality assurance program to ensure the highest manufacturing stan-dards. This eliminates the need for on-site sampling or quality testing, saving time and money.In recent months, Tse and her team have been seeing more highly confiden-tial projects that require considerable R&D. Because of this rising demand, our engineers have developed new tools and guidelines for the manufacturing Sarah Tse, CEO of TSE Worldwide PressJust because you can add bells and whistles to your title does not mean you should.w w w. p u b l i s h e r s w e e k ly. c o m 11P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1Starlite from the slowing economy. Its Parisofficeisdoingverywell,with business expected to increase 30% to 50% this year, especially for childrens edutainment projects as well as DIY, craft, and hobbies titles, says chairman and CEO K.Y. Lam. Given the higher standard of living and better work-life balance in Europe, the market for such products is set to grow even further. Back in China, Starlite now has a new plant in Wuhan. This capital city of Hubei Province is equidistant from Bei-jing, Shanghai, and Guangzhoua fact that would help Starlites goal to pene-trate the domestic market. We will also start our new production facility in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, this year. Wages there are about 30% lower than in Shenzhen, and it also has a sizable labor pool, adds Lam. Meanwhile, the Shaoguan facility remains Starlites hub for hand-assem-bled paper products for children as well as novelty items. Phase II of its expan-sion is underway. Labor is abundant, as evidencedbythemanyHongKong manufacturers that have set up shop in that area. As for the chronic labor short-age in Shenzhen, he says the company copes by continuously improving the benefits for our skilled workers and rais-ing their salaries. At the same time, our Starlite Innovation Center is hard at work to find ways and means to replace manual labor with all sorts of automa-tion.His team is also busy with bills of materials as required by both PIPS (Pub-lishing Industry Product Safety) and New Directive 2009/48/CE on toy safety, the latter in effect on July 20. This work involves a lot of data collection from the bills of materials for every sin-gle order. But it has to be done. The tightening EU regulation on chemical use and the revised Toy Safety Directive demand that manufacturers of books do vigoroustestingforawide range of chemicals and provide supporting documents when-ever required. Internally, we are working on the same for the U.S. market based on the requirements laid out in the CPSIA. It is critical to make sure that our products are safe not just for children but for consumers of any age.Lam is getting his fair share of FSC projects in recent months, even though they represent less than 5% of all projects at Starlite. The price of FSC-certified paper is usually not the critical factor as it is just a little higher than that of stan-dard paper, he says. What makes most customers hesitate are the long purchase leadtimeandhighminimumorder quantity. However, if more people go the FSC way, then such concerns will soon be history.regent publishingregentpublishingservices.comComputers and the advent of the Inter-net have made the printing business increasingly difficult to sustain, says managing director George Tai of Regent Publishing. With global communica-tion so convenient and fast compared to 15 or 25 years ago, publishers can get in touch with any supplier in any industry, and at any corner of the world, simply by pushing buttons. Comparison shopping is now as easy as A-B-C, which indirectly makes using print brokers less attrac-tive.However, Tai is not giving up. We continue to upgrade ourselves, spending more resources on improving customer service and employing professionals to explore new markets. Our high-quality products, reliable delivery, expert staff, and competitive pricing continue to bring in new clients. With a lot of hard work and close attention to our clients, wewilldoaswellasifnotbetter thanmost of our counterparts. We expect another profitable year, though not as good as what we would like. At the end of the day, we have to make some money to feed the 35 people on the pay-roll.The rise of e-books has hit conven-tional printing, Tai laments: At the very least, it drives print runs down to a min-imum. As far as I can tell, more people are turning to tablets and computers for their reading pleasure. Besides dwin-dling sales, bookstores are also disappear-ing. Despite the gloom, Tai remains convinced that publishers will continue to buy from Hong Kong and China. The capacity, the workmanship, and, most important of all, the value of products that we provide as a collective group of suppliers, are not something that pub-lisherscangetelsewhere, such as India, Korea, Singa-pore, Thailand, or Malaysia. Of course, there are outstand-i ngpri ntersthere, but nowhere else can you find a strong and proven print man-ufacturinghublikeHong Kong and China.Inflation,laborsupply problems, and wage increases in China are serious concerns Chairman and CEO K. Y. Lam of Starlite at Hong Kong Starlite Packaging SeminarGeorge Tai, managing director of Regent, with The Global Party projectand cost-effectively. It is all about extend-ing services and thinking proactively for clients, he adds. Take one recent project as an example. His team helped a client reduce material costs by substituting expensive gold paper with foil sheet. Besides shaving 30% off the costs, the client also ended up with more choices in color and pattern. Finding alternatives to help clients keep to their budget enables them to publish and create more proj-ects, and hopefully these projects will continue to come to us.Midasmidasprinting.comNowadays, customers are more willing to accept higher prices, says deputy man-aging director Francis Kwok; that has helped us to cope with mounting cost pressures. Business activity in the first half of 2011 at Midas is close to that of the same period last year. Competition in lower-price projects remains keen with very tight margins. To complicate matters, paper cost has risen by more than 10% in the first half. We do, how-ever, expect a price drop in the coming months. As for the labor situation, it has stabilized and, given our higher produc-tion efficiencies, we fully anticipate bet-ter months ahead. But Kwok, ever cau-tious, adds, It is still too early to say that its the end of the tunnel. Given the acquisitions and closures that have been going on in the print industry, recession P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 12to the industry, but Tai asserts that a bal-ance can be found. Clients will have to pay a little bit more, and our manufac-turerfriendshavetofindtheright resources, keep costs down, and improve productivity. The printing industry has been around for a few hundred years, and we will keep on printing. Perhaps, one day, someone will come up with an idea that will bring down manufacturing costs dramatically so that we can remain competitive in the e-world!Regal Printingregalprinting.com.hkArt books, photography titles, and high-end special editions have been Regal Printings niche segments for a long time.Nowadays,printrunshave dropped significantly, to somewhere between 500 and 3,000 copies, which is pretty low for most print suppliers, but this range is what we excel in, says man-aging director Maurice Kwan, who uses a GMG color management system for his projects. The proofs we send to clients are a near-match to the final print qual-ity95% at leastso they can trust our production team to get it right. That does not mean we no longer have clients flying in from the U.S., our core market, to visit us. San Francisco-based designer Ron Shore, for instance, came for press checks in May, June, and July this year, and for each trip he had three or four titles done simultaneously. And for those wanting quick turn-around for even lower print runs, Regal offers digital printing. It uses Fuji Xerox 700DCP and Color 1000 presses for color pages, and a Nuvera 100EA for black-and-white titles. We use the dig-ital presses for orders from one copy up to 300. Anything higher will go on the offset press. Since the digital presses only do softcover, we often incorporate stan-dard offset binding and finishing pro-cesses such as wire-o, case-bound, and other cover treatments. We even produce products such as board games and card games using a combination of digital and offset presses. In the com-ingmonths,wewillbe working with a business partner to develop an easy one-stopbookprinting s er vi cet obeof f er ed throughourrevamped Web site. Finding a sus-tainable business model based on hybrid printing that blends digital and off-set is on his to-do list.Meanwhi l e, hi s ar t depar t ment i s goi ng beyond normal file tweak-ingorcolorcorrection. Our team can help clients create artwork based on their briefs, or do high-end scanning of old books and rede-sign the pages to create new versions for them, he says. The latter is especially helpful for clients wanting to revive out-of-print titles or repurpose existing con-tent. I find that clients are more than happy to have us helping them in differ-ent areas instead of just printing.Kwan is looking into expanding his range of cover treatments and exploring new materials that can be sourced quickly Maurice Kwan, managing director of Regal PrintingFrancis Kwok, deputy managing director at MidasIn any collaboration, day one is not the issue. Its day 30, day 90, or day 120 you have to worry about.Production-wise, buyers are going for simplicityandcreativity,causedno doubt by the slow economy and budget constraints. Instead of utilizing com-plex production techniques, designers are spending more time creating unique products using greener materials, adds Lam, whose team advocates upcycling. We use waste or surplus cover paper to make paper bags as a value-added option. It is a pretty simple concept that is great for marketing while promoting upcy-cling. It is quite popular among design houses since it allows them to create unique bags to promote their brands at minimal cost. Naturally, saving energy, minimizing wastage, and upcycling are the top priorities at Magnum Offset. Last year, it joined the WWFs Low-carbon Office Operations Program (LOOP) to monitor and further reduce its carbon footprint. Unfortunately, clients are not always willing to pay for greener materials. In fact, anything that costs 10% more will put them off. FSC-certified paper is more popular among clients whose core business is not publishing. In 2010, around 10% of our projects used FSC materials, but these were from banks and property developers. Of course, there were exceptions, especially when a book publisher opted for very small print runs. So Lam and her team go about upping the green factor in a roundabout way. Lets say we have a client with an odd-size book that would incur more wastage than usual. We would suggest adding in other itemsstationery items, bookmarks,promotionalmaterials, etc.that can be printed alongside the main product without additional costs. This way, the client spends less for more while indirectly cutting waste to protect the environment.Locomotivelocomotive.com.hkThe way orders arrive at Locomotive reflects the ups and downs of the global economy in the past few years. Orders seem to come in like buseseither lots all together or none at all. It makes pro-P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 14is still alive.For now, buckling down and being conservative is his approach. Our R&D efforts in new areas have been curtailed forthetimebeing,andaremostly focused on fine-tuning existing print manufacturing techniques. Any new R&D undertaking is only made upon customers request. And we are happy to report that such requests are back again after a long year of silence. One segment that has been growing steadily at Midas despite the sluggish economy is box printing. We print on plain paper, special paper, or even those surfaces treated with laminate, varnish, UV, hot stamping, embossing, etc. We also use materials such as leather, cloth, PVC, and PET. Aside from conven-tional boxes, Midas excels in producing high-end handmade boxes for gifts, toys, jewelry,cosmetics,food,andsoon. Book-plus projects, another of its spe-cialties, have also been growing despite industry speculations that publishers are abandoning bells and whistles for basic paper and board. We are also seeing lon-ger print runs for photography titles, fol-lowed by periodic reprints. This segment remains our bread and butter. For mate-rials, more clients are going for FSC-certified paper. Although such projects represent a very small percentage, Kwok is confident that this trend will pick up slowly and steadily.His plan to vacate the Changan plant and consolidate all production in Yuan-zhou is nearing completion, while con-struction of the new Shatian facility will commence later this year. More resources will also be dedicated to mainland China to boost our sales there, especially in the bookandproductpackagingareas, Kwok says. Given the appreciation of the yuan and the booming domestic market, his strategy makes perfect sense.Magnum Offsetmagnumoffset.com.hkI have been hearing more complaints from new clients about getting subpar services from their previous suppliersmost probably a side effect of cost-cut-ting measures. But the reality is, unless we move to a cheaper country, rising cost is something we all have to face and accept, says business development man-ager Anita Lam, who still remains opti-mistic about the print manufacturing industry. It would be a lie to say that we do not make any profit. On the positive side, we still get far better margins than car makers do. However, given the fun-damental problems roiling our industry, sustainability is a concern. Still, cut-throat price competition is not the solu-tion. The key is to grow gradually by maintaining good and creative service to earn clients loyalty. At Magnum Offset, the present focus is on staff training and software upgrades, especially on color management systems, to improve accu-racyandefficiency.Wehavelong accepted the fact that both print runs and demand will keep shrinkingtwo fac-tors that have prompted many suppliers tomoveintopackaginganddigital printing.To get what you want from your print supplier, you first need to know what you want, and then communicate that clearly.Anita Lam, business development manager at Magnum OffsetWWW. P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY. C O M 15P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1duction planning tougher than before. Someofthisweattributetomarket adjustments to the continuous rise in wages and material costs in China. Cli-ents are reluctant to place orders until they really need to, says director Sarah Shrimplin, adding that backlist titles present more difficulty. For publishers, raising the selling price of old titles is hard to justify, but rising production costs make it necessary. This has led to an increase in new titles, which are often old titles revamped with subtle twists in the layout to lower production costs. The novelty book market, on the other hand, is returning to true novelty publishing with one-time printing.Speaking of escalating costs, Locomo-tive has finally bought its own office premises. Hong Kongs love affair with property is well documented. To avoid ever-rising rentals, we plunged in and bought an office in the same district where we had been renting. According to our real estate agent, our propertys value has risen almost 50% in one year. If only we could achieve the same margin in our day-to-day business! adds Shrimplin, who has also revamped the company Web site to give it a fresh and energetic look. No idle time for us while waiting for the next busloads of orders to arrive. For Shrimplin, 2011 was off to a more robust start than the past couple of years. We are hopeful that this trend carries into the latter part of the year despite concerns about Europes new safety rules that took effect in July. One of her cli-ents, for instance, has had to reclassify around 70% of its books as toys follow-ing the new ruling. She says, They will probably need to redesign many of their products to meet the safety rules. Obvi-ously, we have to wait until all related uncertainties are resolved before we have a better picture of this market.But this is nothing new to Shrimplin: We have seen a whole cycle of boom, during which many publishers either expanded or developed their line of baby books, followed by bust induced by eco-nomic downturn and tightening safety regulations. Having joined Locomotive in its infancy in 1999 from the former SNP Excel, also a childrens books spe-cialist, I definitely feel like an old China hand in all these.Leo Paper Groupleo.com.hk Leo Paper is not short on recognition and certification for its ecofriendly manufac-turing practices. It won the gold at the 2010 Hong Kong Awards for Environ-mental Excellence for outstanding envi-ronmental performance in philosophy, culture, and management. It was accred-ited as a Marks & Spencer Eco Factory, the first print supplier to be thus recog-nized by the British retailer. It is also the first Chinese printer to achieve the PAS 2050 Product Carbon Footprint stan-dard.Lastyear,itwascertifiedISO 14064 for assessing and reducing green-house gas, and awarded the gold label by WWFs Low-carbon Office Operation Program. We have participated in the develop-ment of more than eight standards that leadtheindustrytowardagreener future, says sales director Kelly Fok, whose team publishes the Green Har-Directors Jackie Butt-Gow (l.) and Sarah Shrimplin of LocomotiveAlvin Lai (l.) and Kelly Fok of Leo Paper GroupFinding a print supplier/client match made in heaven requires more than just prayers and good luck.ronmental consciousness. We wanted a more energy-efficient workplace along with greater workflow efficiencies, says executive chairman Matthew Yum, cit-ing the change to T5 fluorescent light-ing, which slashes energy consumption by 45% without sacrificing brightness. Lighting control is also partitioned by functional area and passage so that we can switch off those not in use to further reduceenergyusage.Thesameis designed for the air-conditioning sys-tem.Over at its various production facili-ties, a number of environmental initia-tives have seen further progress. We converted our boiler system in Zhong-shan from heavy oil to biomass fuel, while the one in Shenzhen is now using natural gas. We have also successfully obtained the China Environmental Label for our Heshan plant, adds Yum, whose Fuyong facility is aiming for the same certification. In the meantime, we are looking into different ways of reducing energy consumption, especially for air-conditioning, and lowering VOC [vola-tile organic compound] emissions from our printing presses.The past 24 months also saw 13 presses of various sizes and functions commis-sioned. The Heshan plant now has eight presses, including a new five-color Hei-delberg,andaround4,000workers. Besides being more efficient and envi-P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 16mony Environmental Report annually to share its green progress with stakehold-ers. Aside from continuous improve-ment on energy saving and efficiency plans, we have embarked on a program of green purchasing. It means exerting control right at the source itself to reduce VOC emissions. Examples include heavy metal testing on all printing inks, the use of more water-based ink (around 15% of total usage in 2010), and a complete shift from solvent-based lamination to water-based. On top of these, we are monitor-ing our supply chain to reduce the use of energy, paper, transport, and space. At the same time, Leo Papers purchase of FSC-andPEFC-certifiedpaperhas increased 130% and 400% respectively between2009and2010.Plansare underwaytoobtaintheISO50001 Energy Management System certifica-tion in 2012.OveratitssubsidiaryLeovation, ARIUX (Augmented Reality Interac-tive User Experience) projects are pick-ing up steam. We have done around 150 projects so far, and we have upped the ante on its complexity and user expe-rience, says general manager Alvin Lai. One recent project for Sejer/Editions Nathan,forinstance,allowskidsto interact with the books main character, Dokeo, by just showing different learn-ing cards to the Web camera. It boosts the reading experience and promotes a proactive reading habit. We have also combined AR with motion tracking instead of printed materials, thus greatly enhancing user experience.But one of the most important initia-tives at Leo Paper in recent months is to provide e-content delivery. By moving into the digital space, we become a full-service physical book and e-book pro-vider, offering a total solution to our clients. Aside from our knowledge and experience in the publishing and print-ing industries, we have the capabilities to help clients tap the Chinese market, adds Lai, pointing out that China is now one of the fastest developing markets in the digital space. We believe in a holis-tic and integrated approach in delivering physical and e-book formats. We are con-tent enablers, preparing content for dif-ferent platforms in which physical and digital formats coexist and augment one another.Hung Hinghhop.com.hkIt has been 22 years since the last renova-tion was carried out at Hung Hings Tai Po headquarters in the New Territories. Today, it gleams with a new decor and modernist atmosphere. Not only that, the whole makeover was steeped in envi-(l. to r.) David Eitemiller, Matthew Yum, and Christopher Yum of Hung HingProofs are a simulation, and they often do not match the press sheet. So stop ago-nizing over it.No one says books must come in boring rectangles with cardboard cov-ers and black ink on white paper.CMYCMMYCYCMYKHHad2011_v5.pdf 1 18/07/2011 3:05 PMpublishing proposition that emphasizes short, rapid runs. As a matter of fact, a plot of land adjacent to the existing facil-ity is being developed to house new offset presses this coming quarter. Colorcraftcolorcraft.com.hkWhile there are still uncertainties in the economy, business for the industry has been consolidating, says CEO Fraser McFadzean: Growth remains on the conservative side. But that is the good news: there is still growth. Cost containment without lowering quality, he adds, is the goal, but achiev-ing that has its challenges. Some pub-lishers may look to repackage existing materials rather than take the risk of launching new and untested products, or to cut their lists and focus on successful lines instead of diversifying. In the pre-vailing climate of cost consciousness, there is a discernible shift away from FSC-certified paper. However, sustain-ability has not lost its allure. Im sure whentimesimprove,therewillbe renewed effort to engage with all things green and eco-friendly. For now, the rules of the game are pragmatism and practi-cality.Digital printing, which Colorcraft offers, is enjoying increasing popularity P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 18ronmental-friendly, these new machines allow us to offer clients new value addi-tions and features. As for paper, FSC-certified products accounted for less than 5% of the companys total paper con-sumption in 2010. However, this figure is already double that of the previous year. For sure, clients in North America and Europe are now more keen to learn about the paper used and to make sure that the materials come from sustainable sources.Business-wise, the climate remains tough. There are simply no short-term fixes to the rising cost of labor, materials, and energy, or to fluctuations in currency exchange, says CEO David Eitemiller. Just look at Chinas toy manufacturing industry. It has shrunk from 20,000 to the present 8,000 companies within the last few years due to these challenges. Any cost-cutting measures need to be carefully considered so as not to affect delivery schedules or quality standards. Support and understanding from both sides of the supply-demand equation is key if were to ride out this difficult period. CTPSctps.com.hkFour months after installing an HP T300 inkjet web press, project testing with various base weights and trim sizes has picked up steam at the Dongguan facil-ity of CTPS. Integrating the complex software of T300 with the Muller-Mar-tini SigmaLine takes time. Even with leading edge technology and multiple upgrades, going live is not going to happen for a while longer, says global business director John Currie, who is encouraged by the positive reception to the companys digital printing initiative. Continuous installation of inkjet web presses within the printing industry and increasing adoption by American and Europeanhigher-edpublishershave assisted CTPS in converting traditional print clients and gaining their accep-tance. Getting regional publishers to embrace digital book production is his focus for the next 12 months. I should be able to talk more about our progress by mid-2012.To accommodate the new digital line, CTPS converted its huge packing/ware-housing area into a clean room. An HP Indigo 7500 sheetfed press is also placed in this self-contained unit together with thenewlyrelocatedprepress/CTP department. Extensive retrofitting was done to create the stable environment that the technology requires, adds Cur-rie, noting that the timing of the T300 installation coincided with the Beijing Print Bureaus renewed push for green initiatives in the industry. Assigned to head the digital operation is the prepress/CTP manager, a decision that makes perfect sense to Currie. The inkjet printing process is heavily depen-dent on its software, so getting someone who understands the workflow and has a similar process-related mindset is cru-cial. Internally, we view the digital line and the CTP department as extensions of each other. We found from our visits to various T300 and T350 sites for our technology evaluation study that the best personnel to operate the digital line do not necessarily have to come from the production floor. CEO Peter Tses stance on traditional print production remains unchanged despite the T300. Our offset printing services continue to evolve to meet new demands such as minimum inventory and rapid replenishment. In the past 12 months, we have focused on retooling ourprintsolutionsbasedonthese demands. This way, we can maintain that printinginChinaremainsviable. Embracing inkjet technology is just one of our practical solutions to the changingincreasing adoption by American and CEO Fraser McFadzean of ColorcraftTechnology is fast. But absorption by a society or organizationyes, that includes youis slow.W W W. P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 19P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1particularly in the U.K. and U.S. Other markets have been slower to embracethisnewplatform.We have to remember that the print manufacturingindustrynever stands still. It has adapted to every technological change with gusto, from embellished manuscripts and Gutenberg to the present sophisti-catedtechnol ogy. E-booki s another of the changes faced by the industry, and it is here to stay, says McFadzean. E-books are popular with road warriors, who are keen to lighten their luggage while still wanting to enjoy the pleasure of reading books, and their lean and mean iPads, Kindles, and similar tablets offer them this convenience. Thus,predictionsofthedemiseof printed books have been grossly exagger-ated. Printed books have a loyal and expanding market, and will be part of the mix. Newspapers, after all, have not been killed off by the Internet as predicted. They have just had to adapt their model to new market dynamics.The way McFadzean sees it, We will all have to adapt to changing circum-stances,whethertheyarewithinor beyond our control. And we will have to be nimble about it. Whatever the situa-tion, Colorcrafts objective is to steer our customers through the shoals, providing them with timely advice based on our reading of market trends together with our proven experience.C&C Offsetcandcprinting.com The introduction of bamboo paper and mineral paper, besides FSC- and PEFC-certified paper, at C&C indicates grow-ing eco-consciousness among clients. And it says a lot about the companys stance on green manufacturing. In fact, the number of titles using FSC-certified paper grew threefold between 2009 and 2010, according to marketing develop-ment manager Vicon Wong. One domes-tic client, Ping An Insurance Group, went so far as using mineral paper as the covermaterialforits2011diary,of which200,000copieswereprinted. Thedemandforbamboopaperis expected to grow steadily as concern about global warming and sustainability increases among the international com-munity. Bamboo, a fast-growing plant with a higher fiber yield, is easier to har-vest and transport, which significantly reduces the carbon footprint. For all these reasons, C&C now offers bamboo paper for book production with grades ranging from 70 gsm to 300 gsm.Green initiatives continue to gather momentum at C&C. Clients can now opt to use paper pallets, which signifi-cantly lowers transport costs since paper palletsaresome40%lighterthan wooden ones. At the same time, paper pallets are easier to recycle and do not requiredisinfectiontreatmentfor export, says deputy general manager Ivy Lam, who has made ecofriendly facility management her focus for 2011 and the first half of next year. We are looking into obtaining ISO 14064 certification, which is aimed at controlling greenhouse gas emissions, she says. This certifica-tion would allow us to take part in emis-sions trading schemes, further enhancing our commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. Last year, C&C was named a green medalist by the Hang Seng Pearl River Delta Environ-mental Awards, a program that recog-nizes environmental performance in the manufacturing sector.Lam and her team are promoting PUR (polyurethane reactive) bind-ing for both hardcover and softcover to export clients. We have also started offering digital printing ser-vices to export clients in the educa-tional and trade book segments. On average, our digital presses process about 100 projects every month, adds Wong. Two units of Canon I magePr es s C7000VPwer e installed last November, boosting the companys green initiatives and its ability to meet client demand for zero inventory and faster delivery. Anotherdevelopmentisthe launch of Microland, C&Cs own line of stationery and paper prod-ucts. This house brand, currently available only in mainland China, is tar-geted at professionals and students who want higher quality and more stylish products, adds Wong. Asia Pacific Offsetasiapacificoffset.comSmall to medium-size customers who were less active in the past two years are cropping up again, and both new titles and reprints are going strong, says presi-dent Andrew Clarke of Asia Pacific Off-set. The continued strength of the euro, making printing in Hong Kong more attractive than ever, has resulted in fur-ther growth in its Continental European business. We have continued to see strong growth in high-end museum-quality projects.These days, customers think globally in terms of manufacturing, adds Clarke, Ivy Lam, deputy general manager of C&C OffsetPrint suppliers do not control ship-ping lines or cus-toms. So asking for a guarantee of ship-ping time or deliv-ery is a waste of time.P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P u b l i s h e r s we e k ly a u g u s t 8 , 2 0 1 1 20tal policies. We find that more publish-ersaregoingtheecofriendlyroute because it is the right thing to do rather than seeing it as a marketing ploy. But getting a 100% certified product can be a challenge when cover materials, boards, and other additions are involved in the making of a book. However, materials with internationally recognized chain-of-custody standards are getting more common with each passing month, and customers are encouraged by the grow-ing number of options available to them in Asia. Asked about his take on the rise of e-books in the U.S., he says, It is inevi-table and should be embraced rather than feared. There are still many books and formats that may never be attractive in e-book format. Illustrated titles, for instance, offer a very different and endur-ing experience. A coffee-table book on Kindle does not quite have the same impact. and they go to whoever can offer the best quality at the most competitive price. I dont think our customers make their decisions based on locationwhether domestic, near-shore, or offshorebut, rather, what is best for them from a ser-vice, quality, and pricing point of view. They do not print in Hong Kong or China only because of price, but also because of reliable, consistent quality and responsive service. And while costs have escalated over the years, Clarke says, Customers have always been concerned about Chinese workers wages and work-ing conditions. The recent minimum wage law and workers welfare regula-tions have raised industrial workers standard of livingand that has to be a good thing.What was not good was Japans earth-quake in March, which resulted in paper shortages and price hikes. Its some-thing we dont need while coming out of recession. But, as usual, things worked out and we got the job done. It seems to me that there is a global crisis every other year in the first quarter.Clarkeisseeingmorepublishers thoughtfully developing their own envi-ronmental policies and standards. Dif-ferent clients have differing environmen-JOBZONEwww.publishersweekly.com/jobzonewww.publishersweekly.com/jobzonewww.publishersweekly.com/jobzoneIn this economy your business demands the best talent and Publishers Weekly is committed to delivering it with PWs new JOB ZONE. Your employment posting will engage publishersweekly.coms 400,000 unique monthly users.PW wants to partner in your success.Post your employment opportunity for $250 monthly and PW will do the rest.JOBZONE_1/2H.indd 1 12/3/10 10:46 AMAndrew Clarke, president of Asia Pacific OffsetWWW. P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY. C O M 21P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1Amazing ProjectsAs a rule, wow-inducing projects do not come easy. The designer may hatch a fantastic, albeit abstract, idea that would fall flat during the dummy-mak-ing stage. The production director may want to speed up the manufacturing process without considering that glue, ink, and paper take time to dry well and should not be rushed. Worse, those materials that seem oh so appropri-ate for the fantastic project may come with a hefty price tag way beyond ini-tial projections, or a nightmare to source. The onus is then on the print man-ufacturer to juggle the inconceivable, the impossible, and the impractical to come up with the right solutionand deliver on time, at high quality, and within budget.Here are several recent exampleschosen arbitrarily from a long listthat attest to Hong Kong and China print manufacturers impressive capa-bilities and can-do spirit.FROM ASIA PACIFIC OFFSETTen facsimile documents printed on an assortment of papersfor texture varia-tion and realistic reproductionare the highlight of Russia of the Tsars and the Slave Trade from Thames & Hudson. These documents go into a rectangular pocket on the inside back cover, and we produced the pocket using Wibalin gusset to increase its flexibility and durability, says president Andrew Clarke. Then there is Andrews McMeels A Doonesbury Retrospective, a 696-page slipcased volume chronicling the comic strips 40-year run, which comes with a four-page foldout map detailing the complex relationship matrix spanning three generations.FROM MIDASA book from the French Foxy Lady Project SAS, 20th Century Legendary Guitars: Lifesize Photographs, which approximates the size and shape of an actual guitar was a challenge from start to finish. Measuring 109-cm. 47.3-cm., the 124-page book with a pull-out poster required four rounds of dummy-making. Its bigger-than-usual dimension called for large-format printing, meticulous planning to avoid mas-sive paper wastage, and a much longer production schedule. Every step in the binding process had to be done manually, including folding of the eight-page end-papers, case making, and casing in, says deputy managing director Francis Kwok, whose team also had to figure out the most suitable pallet and container for ship-ping the unusual book to avoid damage during transit.FROM C&C OFFSETThe 300-page Eco House Book from designer Terence Conran does not just talk about environmental-friendly home improvement. It is itself ecofriendly. About 90% of the materials used in it are FSC-certified, and the rest are green, too, such as gray board for the cover and recyclable shrink-wrapping film for packing, says deputy general manager Ivy Lam. The book went on to win the silver medal at IAPHC 2010 in recognition of C&Cs production capabilities and stringent quality control.P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY A U G U S T 8 , 2 0 1 1 22FROM REGAL PRINTINGThe limited edition of Luxury House 20102011, published by Hong Kong Eco-nomic Times, comes in a clam-shell box with a sheet of stamps from the Hong Kong Post Office and a wooden bookmark with the recipients name laser-engraved on it. But the most unusual part of this project is the bamboo case cover. For that, we had to source a vendor to strip the bamboo, hand-sew the strips together, dye it in a specific color, and dry it under the sun to remove the moisture. We then cut the bamboo piece to size, glued it to the cover and used laser engraving to deboss the book title, says managing director Maurice Kwan, who has the satis-faction of seeing this title win the gold at the China Print Awards 2010 and the IAPHC 2010.Then there is the special campaign to promote Mandarin Oriental Hotels presti-gious Krug Room. The cover of this promotional book has a layer of cork over it. Unfortunately, the local cork paper or cork from China is of inferior grade. So I con-tacted a friend in the U.S. who represents a Japanese paper company to get high-quality cork paper shipped over from Tokyo. We then use laser engraving to print the title, simulating the effects that are found on Krug champagne corks. FROM REGENT PUBLISHINGA presentation package measuring 13.4-cm. 2 8.8-cm. and around 12.5 cm in height for the Global Party, September 1516, 2011, took about six months to prog-ress from quotation to order confirmation. The set includes two boxes, two key rings in individual bags, one cradle, and two 200-page case-bound books. A lot of special design and preparation work was required, and everything is hand-assem-bled, says managing director George Tai, whose team had to contend with the very fine typeface set on a black background for the books and the task of wrapping the boxes in black saifu cloth, which gets dirty and stained easily. The short turnaround time50,000 sets within four weeksadded to the challenge. But the client is very happy with the finished product, and we are already discussing details of their 2012 project, which comes with a bigger order of 200,000 sets. Another project, this one for becker&mayer, has 17 different special features including envelopes, stickers, trading cards, posters, and various gatefolds. For Star Wars: The Complete Vader, we apply aqueous varnish to every page to prevent setoff due to heavy ink coverage. The manual gluing of so many special features is strictly controlled to prevent warping, and we have to do multiple tests to find the right balance of sewing and gluing for the spine.FROM TSE WORLDWIDEReplicating on paper the color, feel, touch, and details of Nelson De La Nuezs orig-inal artwork is the toughest challenge in producing the 168-page Pop Americana. We created a unique ICC profile that would fit the printing press in China and the paper used. And prior to the big run, we produced one signature of press sheets for the authors approval, says CEO Sarah Tse, whose team also developed a clamshell for the 22.9-cm. 30.5-cm. hardcover book after going through numer-ous sketches and samples and having multiple videoconferencing and physical meetings with the client. The clamshell is a great marketing piece that doubles as a keepsake. Impressed, the celebrity artist has been sending Tse new refer-rals since the beginning of the year. WWW. P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY. C O M 23P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1A different platform to meet the changing publishing propositionThe Time Has Come for Digital PrintingBy Teri TanNews of CTPSs acquisition of an HP T300 in Marchthe first in Asiacame as a shock to many in the industry. Although much has been said about the advantages of digital printing in recent years, Hong Kong/Chinas print industry relies mostly on offset. As such, CTPSs big-ticket investment sparked much speculation, interest, and debates within the industry.Several print manufacturers, in fact, have already ventured into the digital arena. At C&C Offset, two sets of Canon Image Press were installed last November to satisfy book publishers increasing demand for smaller runs and shorter delivery time, and C&Cs Shanghai com-mercial printing facility has expanded to more than 20 presses (from Fuji Xerox, Canon, and Kodak) since launching its digital printing services back in 2005. Over at Regal Printing, its Xerox DocuColor 800 has catered mostly to self-publishers and small publishing houses in the past six years. Leo Paper Group has two NexPress machines, the first of which was installed in 2006, while Hung Hing has recently installed a Konica Minolta digital press as a test to decide when or how to expand into the digital arena. Many others are weighing the model and brand that would best suit their needs.What is the story behind CTPSs bold venture and how does HP figure in the whole digital printing movement? PW sits down with John Cur-rie, global business director at CTPS, and Aurelio Maruggi, v-p and general manager of HPs inkjet high-speed production solutions division, for a quick chat on the rise (at last!) of digital printing in Hong Kong/China.Why digital printing, why now, and why HP as your supplier of choice?John Currie: We have been monitoring the developments in digital printing for a number of years, visiting DRUPA, IPEX, and other print exhibitions as part of our research. The turning point came early last year when news emerged about a viable digital book production solution. Further research led us to HP. Digital printing is the new frontier that would tremendously benefit those brave enough to venture into it. And this is our way of keeping ahead of the curve.Were you surprised when CTPSand not one of the big-gest China or Hong Kong print-ersvoiced its interest in T300?Aurelio Maruggi: We have found that early adopters are better characterized not by size but by their keen understanding of how digital printing would fit their own and their customers long-term strategies. CTPS is a key supplier to American educational and reference book publishers, and these publishers have been moving significant amounts of work onto HPs inkjet web press plat-form to achieve supply chain efficiencies and enable new business models such as textbook customization.JC: We have always maintained a low-profile business approach, though this digital move has changed it somewhat. And while we are not on HPs business development strategy list, we are certainly now on their sales and marketing teams radar.What does it say to you when a medium-size company like CTPS installs a T300?AM: It confirms that the same funda-mental market drivers are active across the globe. Publishers are focused on reducing inventories in order to increase working capital and reduce product obso-lescence risk. Digital printing allows printers small and large to offer publish-ers order quantities that are based on expected or measured market demand, and it is unencumbered by machine P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P u b l i s h e r s we e k ly a u g u s t 8 , 2 0 1 1 24customers add even more business by unlocking prints greater value in the digital worldthe ability to offer a tan-gible, authentic product that can be cus-tomized or even personalized in a way that holds greater appeal to readers.Presently, only 1% of the global publishing industry uses digital printing for book production. How does HP plan to go about changing this picture?AM: Trends in the book industry point to a need for increased efficiency and flexibility. We are working with printing and publishing firms to share information on the rapidly evolving opportunities and challenges facing the industries today. With these shared insights, we can work together to accelerate adoption in areas with highest returns and develop better solutions year after year.Now that the first T300 has been installed in the region, setup and plate costs. CTPSs move speaks volumes to its progressive approach to profit-able growth. And while there are several leading book manufac-turers worldwide with HP inkjet web presses, CTPS is the first export player to adopt this platform. Our intention, when these presses were developed, was to enable longer-run digital printing. CTPS shows us that a longer-run solution can help a book exporter to grow, and that is vitally important for any digital press manufacturer looking to expand in the Hong Kong/China printing industry.It was a really fast-track deci-sion to purchase and install the T300, right?JC: Discussion started in earnest in November, and the purchase signed off by our CEO, Peter Tse, in December. It is the quickest installation undertaken by HP. The goal was to have it ready by early April in time for our open house during the Print China exhibition. Surprisingly, the air-freighted high-tech software and hardware went through Chinese customs without a hitch. Muller-Martini also fast-tracked its SigmaLine delivery to our Dongguan facility.AM: Peter is a man of action. He visited our Corvallis, Ore., product development site after the initial conversations and saw the T300 printing his sample jobs. The pace just picked up from there.Book printers in Hong Kong and China are known globally for offset printing capabilities. Getting them to shift to digital is a big task. How do you plan to convert them?AM: Few industries are transforming as significantly as the publishing industry, and we are working closely with printers in every corner not only to show how an investment in HP can drive efficiency and reduce costs but also how it gener-ates new opportunities. We want to help John Currie (l.) and Peter Tse with their HP T300www. p u b l i s h e r s we e k ly. c o m 25P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1whats next?JC: The upcoming months will be focused on promoting it as a viable textbook and STM production solution. We are work-ing on establishing new business streams based on this T300 and upcoming instal-lations. Co-sharing and smart partnership with other HP clients around the globe is also part of our plan.AM: As more publishers buy into the new platform and efficiency model, we expect further expansion across the Asia Pacific region. This is already one of the fastest-growing regions for HP and our counter-parts in the graphic arts space. With the success of Indigo presses in the region, we have a strong infrastructure in place to support our customers. The plan now is to expand our presence in the inkjet web press area. What are the best features of T300?JC: In addition to providing full-color short-run solutions, the T300 is great for clients adopting rapid stock replenish-ment and low inventory warehousing. We want to be the regional point of con-tact for such print orders.How about the latest model, T400?AM: The T400 is the most productive press of our rapidly expanding product portfolio. In fact, if you are printing A4-size pages, you can have more than 6,000 pages per minute. Its 1,067-mm web width offers format flexibility and is a good match for many existing signa-ture-based finishing solutions as well as a growing number of digital inline solu-tions. It is also highly compatible with 521-mm finishing solutions that are prevalent in the industry.How about the much discussed environmental advantages?JC: For one, producing books in smaller quantitiesmade possible by digital printingreduces overprinting and the volume of unsold returns. These in turn translate into savings in terms of paper consumption, ink use, make-ready, and solvent usage. Inks used by T300, for instance, are water-based, with very low VOCs. Ideally, more installations of digi-tal presses such as T300 in different cor-ners of the globe would further reduce the carbon footprint associated with cross-continent deliveries.AM: Research shows that an estimated 30% of all printed books in the U.S. will be returned to the publisher and pulped. Digital printing helps publishers to bet-ter match supply to actual demand, cre-ating significant environmental savings. We have sponsored a study to measure the carbon footprint associated with print-ing and distributing a paperback after the printing is done on an offset press, a digital press, and a mixture of the two platforms. By using HP digital presses, for instance, the carbon footprint of a typical 240-page 14-cm21.5-cm paper-back would be reduced by 14% to 20%.I wish that printing presses were manufactured in different colors to make them less boring. Given a choice, what color would you prefer your T300 to be?JC: Within the Hong Kong printing industry, Peter is seen as a vibrant person who is definitely not boring. Since the T300 looks so futuristic, high-impact and bright casing color would be most appro-priate. A Ferrari red would certainly fit Peter to a T. AM: That is an interesting concept. We have not established custom color schemes for our press housings yet. But it is evi-dent that we are very conscious about creating great industrial designs for our inkjet web pressesthey dont look like anything else in the industry. If you recall, earlier continuous-feed digital presses looked like big office photocopi-ersthey didnt give the impression of being on par with an offset book press. However, when you look at an HP web press, I dont think there is any misunder-standing that this is an advanced, heavy iron press.JC: We actually asked for the Muller-Martini line to be in another color, but we ended up with blue, which is margin-ally better than the green that was ini-tially offered.What is the optimum run for T300 and T400?AM: Some customers have said it is in the low hundreds up to approximately 5,000 copies for the T300. But the num-ber will go up for the T350 and T400 because those models produce more pages per minute, thus driving down cost per book. On the other hand, our inkjet web presses are capable of producing unique page per book at full press speed. So even a one-copy run is possible.JC: Our experience to date shows that the most efficient run is between 2,000 and 3,000 copies. Titles using the same paper stock but with different trim sizes or extent can also be printed together in batches of 50 to 500. Batching or bun-dling of titles minimizes paper changes and wastage, and reduces setup time. We also have an extremely flexible SigmaLine folder/collator/binder/trimmer system that allows quick changeover for jobs that use the same paper stock.Paper stock for digital presses is always a concern. How does the T300 or T400 perform with uncoated stock?JC: We turned to paper merchant Hing Tai Hong for assistance once the scarcity of inkjet-optimized paper in this region was confirmed. We then started with Appleton since its 66 gsm stock had already been tested and used in digital printing. Heavier base weights are com-ing soon. New inkjet grades from Sappi that are tailored for books are expected to be available by the end of the year. The same goes for those from StoraEnso and New Page.AM: All our inkjet web presses come equipped with bonding agent printing, which enables the use of the lowest uncoat-ed grades of offset and newsprint stocks with excellent results. Some customers even print on lightweight coated offset stocks. Since the bonding agent is printed wher-ever a subsequent drop of pigmented ink is placed, it immobilizes the pig-ment near the paper surface. This reduces show-through on thin stocks and prevents wicking and irregular dot P r i n t i n g i n H o n g K o n g 2 0 1 1P u b l i s h e r s we e k ly a u g u s t 8 , 2 0 1 1 26ing companies show that the analogue offset printing it purchased consumed 720,000 kilograms of aluminum plates and more than 16 million liters of pro-cessing solvents annually. It is now mak-ing an aggressive transition to digital printing for many of its titles. Is CTPS looking at other tech-nologies to support the T300?JC: We have already prepared a second site for additional inkjet press installa-tions while working on complementing T300 with different finishing options for both hardcover and paperback produc-tion. Being an early adopter in China means we have first dibs on other techni-cal offerings from HP.What is your advice to those considering installing a T300 or T400, or venturing into digital printing?AM: Printing is only a part of book pro-duction. When assessing the digital value proposition, one needs to take into con-sideration the benefits of time and labor savings in prepress and inline finishing. Unlike conventional printing, digital printing can produce collated pages or signatures to print one book at a time, thus eliminating separate signature pro-duction, folding, gathering, collating, binding, and trimming. With digital paperback production, the whole process can be done inline with just two or three operators. At CTPS, for instance, you will find rolls of paper at the start and finished books on pallets at the end. For those considering digital printing, it is crucial to factor in benefits in terms of labor, turnaround time, and efficiency during the assessment.JC: Do your homework. Review technical aspects to ensure that the digital press is suitable for the type of product you have in mind. Make sure the press will inter-face seamlessly with the finishing lines. It is also very useful to find out from actual users their experiences and challenges in successful day-to-day rollout. Most impor-tant, do not buy into the hype regarding certain presses or technology that has not been fully tested in the market.gain. Additionally, as it is a noncontact printing process, paper cleanliness and smoothness is greatly improved. We are working with various mills to bring more inkjet-optimized papers to the market.JC: For black-and-white printing, any woodfree 80 or 90 gsm is suitable. We are currently testing on matte papers for full-color work. In most cases, we have to tweak the print file to obtain the required results. Right now, we find that woodfree stocks can take up to 40% ink coverage on four-color printing, while inkjet opti-mized papers66, 90, and 105 gsmcan take up to 30%. Increased coverage is expected as newer papers come along and as presses adapt accordingly.How does China in particular, and Asia in general, figure in HPs long-term strategy?AM: These two are growing markets that command high levels of attention and strategic planning within HP. We are anxious to listen and learn from publish-ers and printers in these markets to best match our offerings to their market-spe-cific needs. In China, we are learning that escalating wages and retaining skilled labor are beginning to favor the type of automation enabled by digital production. And as the government con-tinues to privatize its publishing indus-try, we anticipate that these companies will have a heightened awareness of the increased savings and earning potentials offered by digital printing.Do you have any examples or statistics on benefits achieved through digital printing?AM: A project at the British company Communisis comes to mind. It recently shifted one of its direct mail projects to a completely digital workflow using the T300. The switch saved the company time and money associated with making 220 plates. It also gained much more flexibility in its versioning process: instead of printing just 56 variations of a direct mail piece, it could print more than three trillion different combina-tions of images and customized messag-es. On the book publishing side, statis-tics from one of the worlds top publish-Aurelio Maruggiat the launch ofHP T400CALIFORNIA (USA) 001-909-989-8282 (PST) | HONG KONG 011-852-2191-8077 | [email protected] | WWW.TSEWORLDWIDEPRESS.COMWI T HS UCCE S S CAME B I GGE R I DE AS ./. / /.Whyset t l ef or apr i nt er whocanj ust creat e? Toget her,wecani nnovat e.facebook.com/tseworldwidepresstwitter.com/tsewp APri nt er. Toget her, wecani nnovat e.inches2.indd 1 7/7/11 9:06 AMPlease visit our Web-site: http://www.regalprintingltd.com.hkRegal Ad 29-7-11.pdf 1 29/07/2011 9:57 PM