“The biggest opportunity I foresee is the print market in the Arab world”
Having merged Ali Alhashemi Trading Co. LLC and Emirates Trans Graphics LLC under one umbrella to form M/H Alhashemi Group of Companies, Mohammad Alhashimi, the Group’s managing director, talks to ME Printer about diversification of the company,its new growth areas, and game changers for the printing industry.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges in the Middle East printing industry, according to you?
We, Ali Alhashemi Trading Co.,have dedicated our business for more than 5 decades mainly to the printing industry. From our experience, we understand very well about the swings and ups and downs in the market.Also we closely follow and understandthe challenges andupdate ourselves time to time to grab the opportunities and transform them into successful business.
I believe the new opportunities in the printing and packaging will definitely boost the market value of our printing industry in the Middle East in the coming years. AndI agree with the PIRA statistics that market value will reach around a billion dollars by the starting of 2020.
The biggest opportunityI foresee is the print market in the Arab world –small countries in terms of population but a considerably big market when their single language is taken into account. This provides potential opportunities to print service providers to expand their business boundaries to neighboring Arabic speaking countries and market.
Industrial, transit and food packaging are expected to be the largestend-users of print pack materials, enabling the growth of the industry from about 24 billion in 2017 till 28 billion dollars by 2020.
I believe thatdigital printing is the most important development since lithography. Digital presses have been available since 1995; so the technology is no longer in its infancy. The digital market is expanding rapidly as more and more companies are seeing the advantages of digital in terms of increased productivity and lower costs. Digital is taking market share from conventional printing by cost savings being a major key factor. Besides this,we observeserious inclination towards diversification by commercial printing companies into packaging.
The main challenges in our region are no different than the rest of the world, the impact of oil prices in economy and the business is similar as elsewhere. However, I foresee this challenge as a huge opportunity for our region,which isto diversify the dependency on oil to commerce and industrialization.
What are the growth areas for Ali AlHashemi Group? What are your goals for the next five years?
The business strategies or plans of any organization need to be reviewed after certain period. They need to be altered according to the market demand and trends. We are undergoing a vast re-structuring within our company by incorporating several smart initiatives, policies and procedures.
We would like to take this opportunity to announce that we have united our main business units Ali Alhashemi Trading Co. LLC and Emirates Trans Graphics LLC under one umbrella and have formed M/H Alhashemi Group of Companies. And along with these vertical companies we are intending to add several diversified business entities in par with the vision of Dubai and our region. Our goals for next five years would be to establish our group of companies to excel in providing the best services, latest technology and products to our market. And want to emerge out as the first choice of the customer.
How do you stay relevant after several decades in the printing business? How is the company positioned for the future?
As mentioned above, our vast experience and serving the printing business for long, has resulted to have a very strong relationship with our valued customers. Even though the dynamics of the printing industry is changing andso is the communication media and methodology. And similarly we too are gearing up by keeping abreast with the latest technology and trends. And as per our new initiatives, we are already working on expansion and diversifying into related business opportunities, which include digital media and 3D printing businesses.
What will be the biggest game changers for printing in 2017–18?
Technology is highly influencing and changing the medium of media and communication, driving us toward more paperless life style and business practices. And at the same time, digital printing technology is now maturing and may emerge out as a dependable alternative for lithography by end of 2018.Also we could see digitization and personalization becoming a standard andprominent print demand.