CCIA Discusses Challenges in China Print Consumables Industry

CCIA Discusses Challenges in China Print Consumables Industry

The 2013 CCIA Conference, convened by the Consumables Special Committee under China’s Computer Industry Association (CCIA), was successfully held in Zhuhai, China. More than 100 representatives of the association’s member companies, mostly senior executives, participated in the one-day event. Industry experts and patent attorneys discussed the challenges and opportunities characterizing China’s current printing consumables industry.

Keynote speaker Arnald Ho, Chairman of Print-Rite Holdings, kicked off the conference by calling for crisis awareness among the seemingly prosperous industry members. Disorderly competition, price wars, lack of patent awareness and other unfavorable factors are diverting the industry from healthy development. Indeed, although overall sales volume of China’s aftermarket print consumables has seen rapid growth in the past few years, prices are on a downward spiral. As a result, annual revenue of this industry remains pretty much the same over the last few years, “at about RMB 30 billion,” so said Ms Zhang Huijun, General Secretary of the Consumables Special Committee.

Challenges facing aftermarket chip manufacturers became the most discussed issue at the conference. Delegates from Print-Rite, Apex and Recycling Times, all shared their newest findings in this area.

Mr. Lin from Print-Rite Technology Development Co., Ltd. said the functions of cartridge chips were initially “identification, storage and recording”, but OEMs have added an “obstruction” function onto chips over the last few years, aiming to block the access of competitors’ replacement supplies. They’ve complicated chips with smaller size, increased speed, complex algorithms and serial numbers. Mr. Lin added, “Encrypting chips brings no added-value to the end-user and constant competition in chip technology damages the actual value of chip. We should not let this continue without any interference.”  That’s why the Print-Rite Group has been working closely with policy makers in China to restrict “the communication protocol, storage and encryption of supplies chips”. The company has drafted a national standard, GB/T29244-2012, which would impose such a clear restriction.

David Gibbons, Director of Recycling Times Media Corporation, used this occasion to release the Chinese version of HP’s updated White Paper on aftermarket chips used in HP Laserjet printers. The new White Paper lists additional necessary changes the aftermarket industry should adopt, in order to avoid brand misidentification. Some companies said they’ve already make the changes accordingly to ensure that their products are compliant with HP’s request. In general, the aftermarket’s respond to HP’s White Paper has been rather positive.

Ms. Helen Duan, a Patent Attorney with INNOPAT Intellectual Property Co., Ltd., spoke on the intellectual property lawsuits concerning China’s print consumables industry over the past few years. She suggested the whole industry should form a patent pool to meet legal challenges from OEMs.

Ms. Mary Ouyong, Managing Director of Mito Color Imaging, delivered a speech on the current status of China’s remanufacturing industry which is still facing severe challenges. For example: The national policy does not favor remanufacturing, making it very difficult to import empty cartridges; there are insufficient sources of spent cartridges (cores or empties) in the domestic market; and, customers believe disparaging myths being circulated about remanufactured products.

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