This time TPF team has been to the well-known printing & dyeing industry cluster in China, Keqiao District, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, visited China Keqiao International Textile Expo 2017 and China Textile City, and listened to end-users.
Different views and demands on digital printing
Through the experience, we found that digital printing machinery users’ differences in enterprise scale, developing trend, brand positioning, target clients and some other factors influence their views and demands on digital printing.
For instance, a small-scale textile company in Keqiao, mainly adopting screen printing, requires the minimum order quantity to be 1500 meters. “Expensive” was what struck on the user when mentioning digital printing. He posed an example. Supposing a meter of finished fabrics sold 10 RMB, the digital printing process per meter would cost 10 RMB. Basically, they would consider digital printing only when making a sample, because the cost was way much higher for a bulk order.
A large-scale printing & dyeing company, which is specialized in digital textile printing, has dozens of imported digital printing machines and its own design team. During the interview, the user indicated their products were a little more expensive than average in the market, and were middle- or high-end positioned. However, they had mature sales channels, regular clients and stable resources from upstream and downstream, and thus the price wouldn’t be an obstacle. Their designers are mainly oversea to meet the demand of target clients for better design. Moreover, the user has also shared some market information with us. In the past years, the price of raw materials was normally adjusted at the end of the year, yet the price has been ascending all year in 2017. With stricter environmental policy, some printing & dyeing plants are laid off or closed, like those in Taihu basin.
Another company we interviewed, for its positive estimation of digital printing’s developing trend, was planning to expand the digital printing business, finding a way to increase its production capacity and investing more in publicity. They’ve bought digital printing machines from home and abroad, and they are now cooperating closely with a domestic machinery manufacturer and paying keen attention to the progress of single-pass technology. The company’s main business is transfer printing, which is influenced by the rising price of transfer printing paper. However, with the bulk order, it has bargaining power to minimize the influence as much as possible.
Distinction on the recognition of digital printing
For middle-scale and small-scale textile companies, it seems more usual and plausible to produce grey fabric by themselves and outsource to print.
When digital printing is mentioned, we’ve got following feedbacks from end-users. Some don’t know about any of it; some are already adopting it; some can provide the service if asked. “I’m just a salesman. What is digital printing?” There is a store in China Textile City, mainly providing linen fabrics, has been cooperating with a digital printing company. Customers can buy grey fabrics or finished product in the store, while the latter is advised since digital printing on linen isn’t simple and printing company can ensure the quality.
How to take advantage of Internet Plus
Located in Keqiao, China Textile City was built in 1980s, it was the first specialised market to be entitled “China”. The most famous tradition trade zone in China Textile City lies around 1 million square meters, including Beilian Market, Dongsheng Rd. Market, Old Market, Lianhe Market, Tianhui Market, East Market, North Market and West Market, etc. The main products range from garment fabrics, home-textile fabrics and curtains, etc. After interviewing with storekeepers, we’ve known that the customer flow has been dropping in recent years.
A market employee told us he used to run a store specializing in curtains, now it has been given to his son to manage, using more online channels to sell. He thought that physical stores were suffered from Internet, reducing the customer flow here in the textile city. In comparison, we met another storekeeper in the market selling scarves. She introduced her selling channels including Taobao and WeChat with full interest. And she could assist in opening micro store online to those who were interested in being a dealer.
It is worth considering how to take advantage of Internet Plus, making it free for digital printing to perform its strength, which requires smaller order quantity, but more batches.
In conjunction with environmental protection
Among the heavy pollution industries, printing & dyeing and paper-making are always on the list. An announcement published in May, 2017 by Zhejiang Environmental Protection Department defined 906 enterprises and 233 sewage plants to be supervised in wasted water process in Zhejiang Province. After looking through the list, enterprises in Keqiao Shaoxing accounts for about 150.
Sustainable development is an eternal issue and digital printing is receiving more and more attention in the market because of the need to protect the environment. At the fair, some digital printing machines were exhibited. According to the feedbacks from the exhibitors, many visitors came to consult the application and technology of digital printing.
TPF will be committed to collecting the actual feedbacks from the end-users and understand the market better and better.
Shanghai International Digital Printing Industry Fair 2018 (TPF 2018) is organized by UBM China and Sun Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in 19-21 April 2018, Shanghai New International Expo Centre. The exhibition area is about 23,000 square meters, there will be more than 200 exhibitors, more than 16,000 visitors from 50 countries and 9,800 professional visitors from home and abroad, among which 65% come from home textile, clothing, printing and dyeing, fabrics processing, leather & ceramics and other end users. Meanwhile, with the aid of 50 professional and authorized media, TPF will be reported in a full range. Leading media of the world, PR Newswire, will release the up-to-date information on TPF globally through its mass media.