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Industry On The Rebound

Gulf Print & pack 2013, Dubai, UAEGulf Print & Pack 2013 – ME Printer Special Coverage
Part One – Industry On The Rebound
Part Two – A Solid Show From Digital Printing Suppliers
Part Three – Packaging is King
Part Four – The Devil is in The Detail
Part Five – Consumables Abound

GPP 2013 this year was held on a backdrop of uncertainties. Some of the major players in the regional and international graphic arts industry chose not to participate in the show while others took the most out of it. Companies such as EFI, Canon and Kodak announced a number of deals during the 4 day event. Canon Middle East signed seven deals worth Dhs7 million on the first day alone, while Nilpeter ME valued its onsite sales and new business leads at being worth approximately US$5 million.

According to Tarsus, the organizer of the show visitors came from 93 countries (83 in 2011 and 65 in 2009). With a marked rise in visitor numbers from Egypt, Nigeria and Turkey, overall attendance from outside the United Arab Emirates was just under 48% of the visitor total. The visitor mix was encouraging. 9,408 people from all over the region and African countries attended the show.  The attendance was in line with expectations however some exhibitors were not very enthusiastic about the number of visitors.

Many companies introduced new products including Jetrion label press from EFI and new blanket roller from Böttcher. Kodak Nexpress also proved to be a crowd puller. An interesting feature of this year’s event was the variety and diversity of equipments on show. From large format printer to label press and latest cross media solutions were available. However there was no sign of any offset press, except in the used equipment section. However there was also clear indication that the regional print industry is on the rebound. And here is our final round up.

Gulf Print & Pack 2013 was a different show in many ways. We have been associated with GPP for more than a decade now.  It’s interesting to see how it has evolved to become a reflection of the printing industry in the region.

This year there was a good mix of technology. Whether this is a good sign or not is open to debate. Canon as the gold sponsor and the largest exhibitor drew lots of attention, which is normal.  However in absence of Xerox, HP, Heidelberg, Agfa, Fujifilm and others Canon must have felt rather lonely. Kodak was also present and its NexPress machine proved to be a crowd puller.

The company which is emerging from chapter 11 had embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign and it seems that the marketing initiative is paying off.  There were hardly any offset presses on display. Maybe we all have to get used to the idea of not seeing offset presses in exhibitions. EFI split its big stand in to two. In one side the company premiered its Jetrion label press and on the other side a VUTEk large format press.

The good news is that the company managed to seal deals for its large format line of machines and meanwhile received good response for the Jetrion from the crowd. EFI’s experience proves that the exhibition attracted different breed of visitors from across the MEA region. 

China’s presence was huge. However one thing that Chinese have to focus more is marketing and “buzz” technology.  There is not any doubt that those visitors who attend the show will also pay a visit to the Chinese pavilion as well. The diversity of Chinese exhibitors was excellent, although consumable suppliers outnumbered others. But China’s pavilion had something for almost all the visitors. The problem is China’s participation is not loud enough. Other companies, especially Europeans are skillful in stealing the show. Chinese companies have some learning to do when it comes to marketing.

Under the umbrella of UPEX a number of British, German and Dutch used equipment dealers took part in Gulf Print and Pack 2013. They opted for small stands but they had big appetite and huge enthusiasm. Almost all of them were satisfied with the result and told us that this was their best GPP show so far. Middle East has always been a great market for used equipment dealers and it seems that it has become even more lucrative.

During the 4 day event we talked with many exhibitors and visited many booths. The sad thing is there are some very innovative ideas presented in exhibitions that many visitors miss or don’t find enough time to know more about it. One of these innovative solutions was launched by Digitec, a professional prepress and digital printing company with headquarters in Dubai.  The solution is computer generated modelling for the advertising agencies. CGI has been widely embraced by the games and film industry but in the world of photography it seems that it has been overlooked. Digitec with the cooperation of Dutch photographer Rob Marinissen has created a new division called X 60.

This division offers professional CGI services to companies who are looking to that extra edge in their advertisement campaign.  Some of the works we’ve seen were truly amazing. However CGI does not come cheap, so if you want that extra edge you might have to allocate extra budget as well. 

According to official announcement, this year’s event achieved record breaking attendance. The attendance was healthy during the first 3 days. But the 4th day the number of visitors dwindled. To quote Roger Pellow, chairman of the event, “You got to organize a 4 day event to get a 3 day show”.  By the way companies who did not participate in the show took advantage of the opportunities that Gulf Print created by celebrating gala dinners and side events to network with their customers and industry professionals who travelled to Dubai to visit the show. The morale here is that exhibitions are good for industry in general and we all should support it one way or another.


ME Printer Stand

ME Printer Stand in Gulf Print & Pack 2013Visitors to Gulf Print and Pack stopped by the stand of ME Printer to exchange greetings and to renew their relationship. We met many important personalities, who were there to know about the latest trends and trendsetters.

It included Dr. Mansour Kadasa, Director General of Arabian Printing and Publishing House in KSA, Joseph Sader, President of Lebanese graphic arts syndicate, Eng. Shawkat Al Ramini, GM of  Institute of Printing Technique, Oman, Mohamed Aboukhalid, GM of Al-Khat Printing press, Kuwait, Adnan Abu Ragheb, Chairman of Jordan Printing and Packaging Academy among others.

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