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Snapshot of China

A couple of years ago, President Xi Jinping rolled out an ambitious agenda to re-shape the Chinese economy and fully embrace the market as the “decisive force” in shaping the country’s economic future. President Xi directed his administration to implement policy changes that increase domestic consumption, stimulate domestic innovation, and develop a world-class services sector – all the while expanding China’s middle class and moving millions of rural Chinese citizens to urban centers.

Printing Industry: China’s rate of real GDP expansion will gradually decelerate through 2017, to 6.4% in 2017. This will partly reflect slowing growth in investment, as higher domestic input costs make property and infrastructure development more expensive; however, continued job creation and the effect of the declining working-age population on supporting wage increases should ensure strong private consumption growth. As local demand increases rapidly, expansion in imports will outpace that in exports. Growth in exports of goods and services will nevertheless remain strong, largely owing to emerging-market demand, despite the negative impact on overseas sales of an appreciating renminbi and rising input costs in China.

Because of China’s rising standard of living (higher consumer demand and rising wages), the printing industry is expected to adopt the latest technologies and more effective ways of serving its domestic customers. These changes will offer new opportunities for U.S. suppliers and manufacturers of printing equipment and technologies. According to the 2013 NPES/PRIMIR study, “World Wide Market for Print,” by the Economist Intelligence Unit, China will rise to the number one spot in terms of market size globally at US$154 billion by 2017, surpassing the U.S. print market. The Chinese market will be an important player internationally for finished printed products, raw materials, inks, and consumables—offering numerous new opportunities for U.S. print suppliers and manufacturers.

China will see growth in all product categories, but the greatest opportunities will be in packaging and publishing, which will grow at 9.2% and 9.1% respectively through 2017. The packaging industry, which was projected to be 46.6% of total print product sales in 2014, will continue to grow to be 48.5% of total print product sales in 2017.

China’s publishing segment will also expand its share of total print product sales from 30.2% in 2014 to 30.5% in 2017. This growth is primarily attributable to the large domestic market. Unlike in the West, where many readers are gravitating towards online publications, readership of magazines, books, and newspapers is increasing in China.

Market entry strategy: For many companies, representation through a Chinese agent, distributor, or partner that can provide local knowledge and contacts will be critical for success. Intellectual Property (IP) rights holders should understand how to protect their IP under Chinese law before entering the Chinese market, and should conduct thorough due diligence on potential partners or buyers before entering into any agreements or transaction. All companies, IP rights holders and otherwise, should consult closely with legal counsels who have extensive experience with the Chinese market. 

For more information on purchasing the World Wide Market for Print study, please contact Pernilla Jonsson, pjonsson@npes.org  or visit PRIMIR

For more information on business in China go to Doing Business in China Ranking from the World Bank