The domestic printing industry is primarily dominated by local firms, but increasing foreign investment is putting them at risk of losing their majority shares, said an official recently.
Speaking at a recent press briefing on an upcoming printing industry exhibition in HCMC, President of the HCMC Printing Association Ngo Anh Tuan said the local packaging printing sector, as a supporting industry, has grown sustainably.
Compared with other Southeast Asian countries, the printing industry in Vietnam could be ranked first and second, in terms of technology and techniques, according to Tuan.
However, there are many challenges facing the local printing industry, since many firms still focus on the domestic market, while their foreign counterparts, especially new firms, become stronger and gain an increasing foothold in the local market.
Due to the tense trade war between the United States and China, many major firms around the world are looking for printing products in Vietnam. Tuan said large orders from foreign firms provide opportunities for local printing houses.
However, many firms operate on a small scale and find it difficult to fill large orders, which require them to comply with regulations about environmental protection, labor health and corporate social responsibility from the European and U.S. markets.
Tuan also noted that a number of printing products were unable to be shipped overseas because they were found to have contained chemical residues.
He added that local printing firms are less competitive than their foreign partners regarding technology and capacity, among other aspects.
The local printing industry has grown by 15-17% annually for the past three years. As a fast-growing market, foreign investors have shown their intention to quickly join business activities through their acquisition of local firms.
He pointed out that Japanese and Hong Kong firms have already acquired some foreign-invested printing enterprises in Vietnam. For example, two Thai printing firms have sold their stakes to Japanese investors. Also, a number of foreign firms in the industry have set up shop in the country. Two Chinese corporations have established their plants in the northern provinces of Thai Binh and Hai Duong, in which they are employing tens of thousands of workers.
He cited data as indicating that local printing firms have contributed 1% to the country’s gross domestic product. If the foreign direct investment sector is included, the industry brings in revenues of some US$4 billion per year. The country has some 2,200 such firms.
Given these opportunities and challenges, he expects the forthcoming printing exhibition will serve as a platform for local firms to do business together and find ways to change the printing industry, develop more efficient manufacturing techniques, and reduce the industry’s impact on the environment.