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Printing in Hong Kong

Printing in Hong Kong

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Published by Publishers Weekly

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Published by: Publishers Weekly on Aug 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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... where print supplies excel inunderpromising, overdelivering,and bucking the status quo.
Printing in
Special Report 2011
2  5  t  h   A  n  n  u  l   R  e  v  i  e  w  
Looking Better than Ever
“The fact that most printers we use arenow located in large purpose-built plantswith climate control instead of crampedhigh-rise factory buildings has changedthe workflow, working environment, andlogistics involved in printing a book. Ithas definitely improved the chance of getting a high-quality final result,” saysproduction director Neil Palfreyman atThames & Hudson, noting that “themassive leaps forward in prepress andpress technology have also ensured muchgreater consistency in the printed resultand higher chances of reproducing theoriginal work, whether it is a painting,sculpture, photograph, or some other artform.”What has not changed in the past 25years is suppliers’ inventiveness and theirwillingness to find a solution to a prob-lem, be it some wild and wacky imposi-tion scheme or out-there style of bind-
Printing in Hong Kong 2011
ing. “We have produced many limitededitions in the past three or four yearswhich, if somebody had asked me 10years ago whether we could make thosebooks, I would have said certainly not,”says Palfreyman.Despite being approached by suppliersfrom Southeast Asia and beyond, Palfrey-man has yet to find a better balance of cost, service, and quality than those thathe currently receives from his Chinesesuppliers: “However, the reality is that inthis Amazon era, where so many booksare discounted, consumers are looking forbargains as the norm, regardless of thecosts that have gone into the making of the book. We will continue to look to oursuppliers for better prices due to produc-tivity improvement and new, more effi-cient plant investment.”Asked about the rise of tablets ande-book readers, he says, “Either the soft-ware available is too limited for us toreproduce 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 uniquequalities of the book and the connectionpeople make with it on a basic level.What you get on an e-book reader is
What has changed, what remains thesame, and what to expect next
Looking Back—and Ahead
By Teri Tan
In 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers, Commo-dore launched the Amiga personal computer, Steve Jobsfounded NeXT, and Bill Gates issued the first version of Win-dows. It was also the year
launched the first report cover-ing the Asian printing industry, of which you are now holdingthe 25th annual issue. (In case you wonder about the calcula-tion, we skipped one year at the beginning.)
Cover photo © iStockPhoto/Nick M. Do
ince then, we have narrowedour scope to cover mostly theindustry in Hong Kong/China as it expands to becomethe world’s print manufactur-ing hub. Its evolution frommom-and-pop (or, to be precise, dad-and-son) shops into sleek multistory one-stop facilities makes for a fascinatingstory. The best commentary on thischange comes from industry experts andprofessionals who have been workingwith Hong Kong/China suppliers andprint brokers all this while. They, morethan others, have seen the ups and downs,challenges and opportunities, past andpresent. So
calls on a few of theseprofessionals to sum up the past two anda half decades or so of the Hong Kong/China print manufacturing industry.
Back in 1985,
Hung Hing
, thenlocated in a multistory industrialbuilding in Tin Wan, Aberdeen, was just recovering from a severe firethat originated in a neighboring fac-tory. “Production was halted for overa month, posing the first major chal-lenge in my career,” recalls execu-tive chairman Matthew Yum, whoeventually built his own factory—now housing around 300 employeesand 10 presses—in Tai Po industrialestate. “We were into packagingprinting and corrugated carton man-ufacturing then, and we did not startchildren’s book manufacturing untilafter our first Shenzhen factory wasestablished in 1990.”

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