China’s printer consumables industry has a positive outlook on business through 2009 and 2010. Two years after the patent in fringement case filed by Epson against several ink cartridge manufacturers, the sector is experiencing robust sales as consumers turn to low-cost compatible and remanufactured models amid the economic crunch. Exports are expected to remain on a growth track in coming months, with several companies even anticipating increases to exceed 20 percent.
Suppliers have enhanced their R&D capability to keep up with printer releases. As a result of Epson’s lawsuit, product development and patent acquisition among suppliers has increased, primarily as part of efforts to protect themselves against losses stemming from litigation and counterfeits. Awareness of regulations has also been heightened, with some companies investing in legal teams to handle IPR issues.
The China government has been instrumental in enabling makers to weather difficult times. During the 337 investigation, in particular, the Ministry of Commerce, facilitated communication with related US departments and encouraged local associations and makers to actively cooperate with the legal proceedings. In Guangdong province, the General Chamber of Commerce established a law assistance center that offers free consultation on anti-dumping legislation and Section 337 of the US Tariff Act.
The following are some of the key trends we see in the industry as suppliers boost competitiveness further:
• Wary of lawsuits similar to that filed by Epson, most suppliers will increase their penetration of markets outside of the US. Many will focus on the EU, which is also a major export destination of other electronic products. Others will explore opportunities in Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
• Aiming for greater price competitiveness, companies will be improving the efficiency of their operations in coming months. A number of enterprises also intend to enhance their quality management systems to reduce losses from defects.
• Time to market is expected to become shorter as suppliers cut product development lead times to get ahead of the competition. At some companies,the cycle now takes only one month instead of three.
• In terms of R&D, many will be launching more environment-friendly models. Releases with UV-resistant ink, higher print yields and better color tone and printing clarity are also projected.
The above is extracted from the Executive Summary of China Sourcing Report: Printer Consumables
To learn more about this report, visit: http://www.chinasourcingreports.com/csr/printer-consumables
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