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HP to offset old tech with digital

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-21 07:33
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A boy is impressed with the images produced by a WeChat photo printer. ZHANG TAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Hewlett-Packard Inc has stepped up efforts to strengthen its presence in China's printing market. It is introducing 3D printing solutions, portable instant printers as well as accelerating the growth of digital printing, with an aim to help transform the country's traditional offset printing industry.

It has launched its 3D printing portfolio in the market. The US-based tech heavyweight is betting on the huge demand arising from China's manufacturing upgrade.

HP said its local partner Hangzhou Shining 3D ePrint Tech Co Ltd will deploy HP 3D printing hardware and software in 50 locations across the country, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.

The other local partner, Infinite 3D Printing, one of China's largest 3D printing solutions providers, will offer HP 3D solutions in cities like Qingdao and Suzhou.

HP will also expand its 3D printing dealers in China and open exhibition and experience centers in several cities.

Ramon Pastor, vice-president and general manager of HP 3D printing, said the "Made in China 2025" strategy is transforming manufacturing. HP's 3D printing solutions could help improve productivity, lower printing costs and produce tailor-made products, thus promoting the manufacturing upgrade, he said.

According to the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, the market is estimated to top 20 billion yuan ($2.94 billion) in sales in 2018, with an annual growth rate of 40 percent in the next few years.

Apart from 3D printing, HP is accelerating its efforts in portable printers to attract the young generation. It introduced a tiny photograph printer called the Sprocket 100 in the Chinese market.

Weighing only 172 grams, the device has the size of a mobile phone, and can easily fit in a pocket. Priced from 899 yuan ($135), it is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Downloading a free HP Sprocket app, users can customize their photo graphs before sending them to print over the Bluetooth feature. Besides printing normal photos, the product can also make virtual stickers.

"Our vision for print is simple: to enable people to share their feelings, professionals to share their ideas, and brands to connect with their customers. We are reinventing print at work, at home and everywhere around us by changing the printed experience that is increasingly mobile, social and digital, with security at the core of our innovations," said Enrique Lores, president of imaging and printing business at HP.

Lores said in this era of mobile communications and social media, portability is important, and the Sprocket will seek to be closer to the millennials-those aged between 30 and 40.

HP is also paying attention to cooperation with local partners to boost digital printing. It launched the InnoPartner program by cooperating with Chinese companies in e-commerce, mobile and marketing industries to drive continuous innovation.

Major partners include YiFu Tu, China's leading design and print e-commerce portal; Easy print, the largest online printing platform in China; and Moment-Cam, a mobile photo app that has 320 million users worldwide.

"We will continue to invest in the R&D of digital printing as this emerging sector is of great significance and full of huge growth potential for the company," said Jeff de Kleijn, general manager of the large format printing division at HP Asia Pacific and Japan.

"3D printing plays an important role in promoting the intelligent transformation of China's manufacturing industry. HP's efforts in 3D printing, which is regarded as a representative of technical innovation, will accelerate the integration of 3D printing with traditional industry," said Luo Jun, executive director of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance.

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