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Digitization to Facilitate Traditional Printing and Publishing Industries

Internet and telecommunication technologies will bring development momentum to traditional printing and publishing industries as well as challenging outmoded skills in these industries.

Participants in the ongoing World Print Congress (WPC) expressed their optimism over the future of the global print industry Tuesday.

Marc Elsermans, president of AGFA Graphics Systems, said that printing and publishing are now high-tech knowledge and service businesses as well as high productivity manufacturing industries.

The focus of the world print industry over the past several years rests on the argument over whether traditional printing and publishing industries will survive the boom in information technologies.

Ray Roper, president and chief executive officer of Printing Industries of America, said, "While some printing may be replaced by digital media, it is still unlikely that the latter will be able to match the quality, convenience and impact of print in the foreseeable future."

The emergence of digital printing solutions and cross-media publication technologies marked the advent of a network age of traditional printing and publishing industries.

Gerd Finkbeiner, MAN Roland board chairman, said, "What we have now in our mail trays are more newspapers. The only difference lies in how they are produced and the content."

Statistics show that in the next five to eight years, print advertisements will increase by 8 percent annually. While the packaging print industry will maintain a yearly increase of 5 percent as well accounting for 20 percent of the global print business.

Now, China's 150,000 printing enterprises are striving to realize the shift from traditional technologies to digital solutions featuring Computer-To-Plate (CTP) flow and etc.

As China's leading economist Li Yining said there are no decaying industries but waning technologies. Opportunities for the traditional print and publishing businesses lie in the integration with new technologies.

(Xinhua 05/22/2001)

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