India is now being portrayed in various news channels as a beacon of hope for pushing the global economy ahead. Manufacturers, globally, are looking at the huge Indian market with excitement. Yet there is still some apprehension.
The global aftermarket printer consumables industry has been dominated by China for almost 20 years. It sells big volumes on a few product lines to importers but at very low prices. Very few Indian importers are loyal as they are always shopping for a better deal. It’s true for other countries too. Suppliers, however, do not really understand the Indian market, nor have they connected with customers who believe in a long-term, sustainable, win-win relationship. Of course, this issue could be easily addressed.
One factor that impacts the organized growth of the Indian market is the industry trade shows and expos. The annual pilgrimage by hundreds of Indian people from large, medium and small businesses to the RemaxWorld Expo in Zhuhai, China continues unabated. They are looking for profitable solutions to compete in India’s ultra-competitive and price sensitive market.
No reputable brand leader has moved in and set up as a business in India. Not yet. No one has established local manufacturing or assembly operations. No one has invested in building the necessary infrastructure. No one has demonstrated a long-term commitment. No one has reassured corporate Indian buyers that they can get a better deal from a local, reputable player. Consequently, the market is forced to buy expensive OEM products and services that continue to grow quickly and profitably.
The China-USA “trade war” has affected our global industry too by slapping a 25 percent customs duty onto many Chinese-made products destined for the USA. This penalty could be avoided by setting up a plant in India with non-infringing, “Made in India” products allowing profitable sales to the USA, which continues to be the largest and most profitable marketplace.
My word, the same plant could also produce enough products to address local market requirements and to cater to OEM buyer requirements in India. I am convinced that local manufacturing could address the pressure on volumes, prices and profits. All it requires is an industry pioneer or investor with industry “know-how” to develop a joint venture project with capable, local Indian companies. Guidance and support could be given to establish a factory near a major seaport, to set up establish factory infrastructure, to manage labor and logistics and to conform with local legal requirements to ensure high-quality production and productivity.
At the Imaging Solutions Expo held at New Delhi in November 2018, a much-needed trade association, called Imaging Solutions Association of India (ISAI), was announced. It will be based in New Delhi so that it can easily and efficiently influence government policy and address industry issues and difficulties. I urge industry associations in other countries to cooperate with ISAI to build a healthy environment for everyone to prosper.
The Chinese players must exhibit in the Delhi trade show to demonstrate to the Indian government the capability of this industry. In my view, there should only be one trade show held in India and it would be good for the organizers of both events to look at how one big show could be professionally organized and affiliated with the non-profit ISAI association.
By taking these steps, I believe the Indian market can consolidate, mature and become more professional in successfully addressing local and international needs for high quality, aftermarket printer consumables and managed print services that offer better value and a safe choice from the expensive OEM offerings.