Pros and Cons of Printing in China

Over the last few years I talked to many customers who planned to reduce their printing budgets and searched for cost effective printers. In the past two decades China has been a destination for manufacturing of various goods including consumer electronics and clothing. Offset printing in China has also grown significantly over the past decade. Nowadays companies in North America, Europe and Australia offshore their book printing and brochure printing to China. We performed costs analysis of leading trade printers in Australia and China and listed several advantages of offshore printing in China.

Significant (>200%) cost savings on offset printing in China.

If you do books or brochure printing in thousands of copies, China printing would substantially improve your bottom line.  The figure below shows results of our print cost analysis for one of the printing products (92pp brochures). When offshoring printing in China it is important to distinguish between FOB and CIF costs.  CIF cost includes insurance and all other charges up to the named port of destination. Many large printing companies in China have headquarters  in Hong Kong and manufacturing facilities in mainland China. When importing print from Hong Kong to Australia your vessel freight costs will contribute to about 5% -10% of your total cost depending on your specific product quantity. The figure below reflects cost saving (in %) for each product quantity when an offshore print supplier in China is used.  For instance, when printing 5000 brochures the printing cost from the offshore printer in China is 207% smaller than the cost from a leading trade printer in Australia. The cost units in this figure have been de-identified for confidentiality reasons. Note that the cost of offshore printing in China includes freight.


printing in china

Superior print technology

All major print manufacturers in China are certified to the latest ISO standards.  Major print manufacturing plants have most modern equipment to meet broad spectrum of printing and binding jobs. Modern equipment along with the economies of scale allows offshore print manufacturers to offer extremely cost effective pricing on certain print jobs. For example, if you want to use sewing in binding of printed brochures or books, China printer is much more cost effective than Australian printer.

 Good Customer Service

Leading offshore trade printers have headquarters in Hong Kong and operate manufacturing plants in the mainland China. As a result, business development and customer service teams speak English very well. They also have significant experience working with Western customers. Additionally, some leading trade printers in China have representatives in Australia providing local customer service. As does Australia, Hong Kong legal framework is based on the English common law thus enabling stronger contractual relationship between your company and an offshore print supplier. Generally, when you work with a reputable offshore printer you will not have problems with the end quality of your printed product. But if for some reason you will identify manufacturing defects in your printed materials, you will have an option to recover or replace the defective goods or receive your money back.

 Other points to consider

When deciding whether to offshore your printing to China you also need to remember that it will take from 2 to 3 months from receiving a digital proof to delivery of your printed product. Thus, make sure that you carefully review your digital proofs and preferably request a printed sample before you place your order to an offshore printer. Also double check your turnaround times with your offshore printer. We worked with an offshore printer in China whose estimated time from order to delivery exceeded 4 months because that print supplier required over two months to produce the paper specifically for our order and another 2 months for printing and freight. Finally, if your requirements involve a small volume printing or if your printing is urgent you will need to use a local print supplier. Contact Planning4business if you need help with printing cost analysis or if you consider offshoring of your printing.

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