Heidelberg aims to strengthen its competitive position in China

Production joint venture agreed with Masterwork

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Heidelberg
Heidelberg aims to strengthen its competitive position in China

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen (Heidelberg) aims to further strengthen its competitive position in the growth market of China and has therefore set up a production joint venture with its long-standing partner and strategic anchor shareholder Masterwork Group. Heidelberg will benefit from the closer cooperation in the value-added chain between the two companies, particularly at its production site near Shanghai. The two companies also expect the expansion of their strategic cooperation through joint parts production by the joint venture at Masterwork’s site in Tianjin to open up substantial opportunities for boosting efficiency.

“The manufacturing joint venture with Masterwork is a further milestone in the successful cooperation between the two companies and opens up additional opportunities for Heidelberg in China,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, chief executive officer of Heidelberg. “With a sales volume of around EUR 300 million (approximately Rs 2665 crore), China is Heidelberg’s most important single market in the graphic arts industry. We have increasingly strengthened our leading market position by expanding our range of products at our production site near Shanghai. The increasing purchase of locally manufactured parts will significantly increase our competitiveness in this growth market.

Under the terms of the cooperation agreement, the joint venture will take over some of the machine parts previously manufactured by Heidelberg. The main customers are Heidelberg Graphics Equipment (Shanghai) as the local Group company in China, and Masterwork and its affiliated companies. Production is scheduled to start at Masterwork’s new and innovative site in Tianjin at the beginning of 2021.

The joint venture between MK and Heidelberg is a very important step in the strategic development of both sides. Our common goal is to provide high-quality, cost-effective, and intelligent products for the market to better meet and service customer needs,” says Masterwork president Li Li. “Through this cooperation, the joint venture will introduce the most advanced management, production, and manufacturing technologies, all of which are based on Industry 4.0. In addition, various processing centers representing the world’s most advanced level will also be put into use in the joint venture to ensure the best performance and maintain the same high-quality standards as Heidelberg. We firmly believe that the joint venture will live up to the expectations, especially the quality requirements. Finally, we are very happy with this cooperation. By learning from Heidelberg, Masterwork will surely upgrade to a new and higher level of manufacturing and production skills worldwide.”

A total of around 900 Heidelberg employees work in China, around 450 of them in sales and service. This puts Heidelberg in a good position to take advantage of growth opportunities in China and Asia in the future and to further develop and secure these markets for Heidelberg. Two branches in Beijing and Hong Kong and three offices in Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen ensure comprehensive customer support on-site. Together with Masterwork, China’s largest manufacturer of die cutters and hot foil embossing presses and a long-standing sales partner, Heidelberg also aims to significantly expand its market position in the growing packaging printing sector.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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