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Chinese vendors gain traction in large format printing

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IDC Asia/Pacific reports in its latest Quarterly Large Format Printer (LFP) Tracker for Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) that global vendors took a major hit in the technical large format printer market in 2015.
Overall in APeJ, the total large format printer shipments in 2015 recorded a marginal 1,7% decline, with technical printer shipments down by 11,2% compared with 2014, a result of slowdown in the economy.
According to the tracker findings, global brands continue to dominate the A1 to A0+ LFP market with a combined 83% of the total market. China vendors, however, now pose a threat in the graphic application segment.
“Global vendors’ performance in the graphic market was increasingly threatened by China vendors,” says Wai Mun Chong, market analyst: imaging, printing and document solution at IDC Asia Pacific. “The graphic large format printer shipments observed year-over-year growth of 6,2% in 2015 and China vendors benefited from this market growth.
“Collectively, China vendors gained 5% share from their global competitors, resulted in them accounting for 28% of the graphic LFP market in 2015. Their growth not only seen within China but also in other Asia Pacific countries, specifically in India and most Southeast Asia countries.”
In China, locally manufactured graphic large format printer shipments grew by 9,1% in 2015, led primarily by UV inkjet printers. The versatility of UV ink has driven transformation in many graphic applications beyond just sign and display.
In recent years, China’s printing of indoor decorations, such as ceramic tiles printing, is experiencing transformation, owing to the UV ink technology advancement in digital printing. The booming applications of UV ink has urged China manufacturers to rapidly move into developing UV technology.
In other Asia Pacific countries, China vendors grew significantly by 78,7% in 2015, as the cheaper China-manufactured solvent and eco solvent printers penetrated well into the graphic market in countries such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Most Asia Pacific countries, with China as an exception, are still lagging behind in the adoption of UV printing mainly due to higher cost of UV printer ownership. Nevertheless, the manufacturers’ pro-activeness in developing UV printing technology will intensify competition between global and China vendors, which will eventually lead to the cost of UV printers being brought down for users. As such, it is expected to see pickup in the adoption of UV printing in the region.
China vendors are progressively closing their gap with global vendors by introducing printers of high print quality and speed. Their ambition to penetrate markets outside of China is also evident from their continuous effort in actively recruiting global partners through exhibition events at home.
These vendors are strategically targeting the price-sensitive users in lower-tier cities, specifically in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
On the other hand, despite the growing threat posed by China vendors, global vendors will continue to take a strong hold in the market for having a better reputation, higher reliability, and stability. Specifically, they would remain dominant in higher-tier cities, for their higher-end printers would be preferred due to the demand for better printing quality and higher productivity.