C & C signed the contracts for two new five-colour Rapida 105 coater presses with FAPC fully automatic plate changing on the KBA stand at China Print in May 2013. The presses left the KBA works in August and are now on their way to their future production location.
C & C boasts roots which originate from two of the most famous names in publishing and printing in Asia: Zhonghua Book Company and Commercial Press. Both companies were already founded at the end of the 19th century.
Over the course of more than a century, C & C has experienced very successful times. A few of the most important milestones have been the establishing of printing houses in Hong Kong in 1922 and 1933, the merging of these two local companies to form C & C Joint Printing (Hong Kong) in the 1980s, the first investments in Shenzhen in the 1990s, and the development of a production base on the mainland from 2000.
There were naturally also setbacks at various points along the way, as C & C director and general manager Liang Zhaoxian readily admits. But the past few years have seen enormous advances, especially with regard to productivity and quality. The company today counts 13 subsidiaries in Hong Kong und mainland China. Alongside books and magazines, commercial printing, securities and packaging are today prominent fields.
One-stop supplier for various market segments
Many people still view C & C primarily as a book and magazine printer. "Those are core fields for C & C, of course," says Liang Zhaoxian, "but we also have many other business units in the meantime, and we produce much more than just traditional hard-cover books. We offer our customers complete solutions in many other market segments besides books." Even though books and magazines still account for more than 50 per cent of the total business volume, the results in other fields are developing excellently. The plants in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, for example, are successful in commercial printing. Security products such as intelligent labels, personal IDs, tickets and bank documents, on the other hand, are produced at C & C Security Printing in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, and by further specialist subsidiaries.
New focus on packaging
"In the coming years, we intend to focus on packaging printing as a further business pillar," is how Liang Zhaoxian describes his company's plans for the immediate future. As the book and magazine markets seem certain to shrink, C & C has begun to invest in the packaging sector, where demand continues to increase worldwide. The objective for the new business unit is to achieve an income of between RMB300 and 500 million (approx. ?37-61 million) in the next three years.
Despite the weak development of the print industry in many countries, business has expanded constantly for C & C. Group turnover exceeds RMB3 billion (approx. ?366 million). Due to the ever fiercer competition and increased costs, however, profit has declined slightly. It was against this background that measures were taken to improve profitability.
Hand in hand with KBA
The purchasing of new press equipment was one such measure. Liang Zhaoxian recalls how the cooperation with KBA came about: "After a comprehensive survey of the available technology, we chose to go with a large-format Rapida. KBA had installed many of these large-format presses at book and packaging printers around the world, and this was a format class in which we, too, had already gained extensive positive experience. The Rapidas are furthermore characterised by their excellent print quality and very favourable ROI. They today cater perfectly for our overall plan to enter the packaging sector. And we must not forget the fact that our customers are very satisfied with the printed products."
Liang Zhaoxian: "KBA doesn't just sell us printing presses, they also help us to use them effectively. Whenever we need new equipment features, for example, KBA always responds very quickly indeed." On this basis, the original customer-supplier relationship has developed into cooperative partnership between business friends.