PrintExpo expects 20% more visitors this year

Sriraam Selvam speaks to Ashok Neelkant of PrintExpo on the eve of the show in Chennai from 18 to 20 April.

08 Apr 2014 | By Sriraam Selvam

First organised in 2009, PrintExpo 2014 is the sixth edition of the show. Billed as the largest in South India and third largest printing exhibition in India, PrintExpo, in the last few years, according to Neelkant has emerged as "one of the top most successful business exhibition in India".

PrintExpo 2014 in Chennai, what’s the show about, composition of exhibiting companies and visitor profile are you looking at?
PrintExpo 2014 this year will be co-located with Photo & Imaging Expo 2014 and Sign & Graphics Expo 2014. So while PrintExpo 2014 has good representation from Pre-Press, In-Press and Post Press, the Photo and Sign show will see several exhibitors showcasing the latest in photo, imaging, sign and display solutions. So this year, while we have promoted the PrintExpo 2014 amongst printers, printing professional and print buyers, the two co-located shows will attract visitors for those sectors in large numbers.

What kind of response do you expect from the show? And why?
We expect around 12000-14000 trade visitors to attend the show. We have a very aggressive visitor promotion program, which is the reason why PrintExpo always attracts large number of visitors in active buying mode. This year, we have promoted all the three shows in newer cities and towns, which is why we expect about 20% more visitors this year.

How’s the print sector – south India, doing? And Chennai? Have you spoken to the printers there? What’s the mood?
Printing in South India is doing very well. Even Kerala, the smallest state in South India, is very buoyant. A few printers in Chennai or South India closing down is not a representation of how the printing market in South India is faring. While only a few shut shop, there are hundreds waiting to invest in the printing sector. Digital, offset, print finishing, packaging pre-press are doing very well. There is plenty of opportunities for printers in South India.

What influences have come to change the face of the print industry in India and South India, in particular, in the last five years?
Faster acceptance and adoption of newer up-market technologies amongst printers in South India is the biggest change that I have seen happening in the last few years. South India has always been a very conservative, not very aggressive in making business investment. That has changed and it is only the beginning. South India is next big growth market in India, not just for printing, but packaging and many other industry sectors as well.

What kind of response do you expect from the southern print industry for the show? And why?
We have a very aggressive visitor promotion program designed for PrintExpo. The Technology Presentation Meets (road shows), newspaper and trade magazine advertising (for example, PrintWeek India), print and eMail flyers, tele-calling, tie-ups with key industry associations and trade bodies, PrintExpo 2014 is the most aggressively promoted exhibition in India for trade visitors.

We expect over 12,000 trade visitors to attend the PrintExpo 2014 co-located with Photo & Imaging Expo 2014 and Sign & Graphics Expo 2014. It’s a big show and we expect visitors not only from South India, but Pan India to attend.

There are challenges confronting Indian printers from various quarters. At the forefront is the internet-related transmission/communication. There will be those members of the print industry whose business would be affected because of the market shifts and technological change. As a trade show Management Company what challenges do these pose to your company?
Advancement in technology and market trends affects almost every industry sector, but printing is the most and constantly affect industry sector.  The advancement and change of technology in printing sector are so fast and furious, what is state-of-art today, is irrelevant or obsolete tomorrowmorning. 

What affects you as a trade show organiser?
Any thing that affects our stakeholders, affects us. By stakeholders, I mean the suppliers and buyers or the exhibitor and trade visitor. Hence, it is also important for us to know and understand these shifts in market trends or technology. A trade visitor visits an exhibition, not just for buying a product or sourcing for new suppliers. They go to an exhibition to find out what’s new, what is the current market trend, what are the newer technologies available in the market, how can it enhance his business, lower his costs etc. We as trade show organisers have to get exhibitors who will showcase the latest trends and technologies. Hence, a trade show organiser has to be current with his information.

Any thoughts on print technology?
I sometimes wonder, will there ever be a sustainable technology in printing.