Wan-Ifra appoints new director for Asia

Media veteran - Lee Kah Whye will take charge of Asia

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Wan-Ifra
Lee Kah Whye, Wan-Ifra director for Asia. Photo Wan-Ifra

Wan-Ifra is pleased to announce the appointment of Kah Whye Lee as director, Asia. Lee, a Singaporean, was previously in-charge of the Asia-Pacific media business of Reuters where he spent almost 20 years of his career which spanned roles that included marketing, product, operations and sales.

He started his career working for the Times Publishing Group in the International Printing Division. Prior to joining Wan-Ifra he ran his own consulting and research firm which specializes in the media industry.

He holds an engineering degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and completed an advanced management programme at INSEAD. In addition to that, he has recently completed programmes at NUS in digital marketing, market research, data analytics and coding.

In his new role at Wan-Ifra, Lee will lead Wan-Ifra activities in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region including managing its membership programme, the Wan-Ifra APAC Committee, the World Editors’ Forum Asian Chapter as well as running its two flagship events – the Asian Media Leaders’ Summit and Digital Media Asia. He will also help develop a variety of new programs and strategies to help our members meet the needs of the fast-changing media industry.

“It is a real privilege to be working for Wan-Ifra and be given the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to an industry I’ve spent 30 years in,” said Whye about his appointment. “I’m truly humbled by the confidence and trust that Wan-Ifra’s management has placed in me in leading the APAC team and will do my best to repay that trust. I look forward to working with industry partners and members of Wan-Ifra to meet the challenges of our fast-evolving news industry and hope to in some small way contribute to its success.”

“I am delighted to have Whye join the team. His experience and knowledge of the news media industry will be a great asset as Wan-Ifra continues to enlarge our portfolio of products and services in Asia-Pacific,” said Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer. “Kah Whye’s leadership will provide further momentum to our efforts to support the industry in its transformation to sustainable businesses. “

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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