Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thailand's ad cuts harming printers

Ad cuts harmThai printing businesses

Business confidence drop means ad losses

NAREERAT WIRIYAPONG

The printing industry in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific region is likely to feel the sting of the global recession over coming months as large corporate clients cut their advertising expenses, say international experts.

For the printing industry, the world financial meltdown could be as damaging as the 1997 Asian crisis - when the global printing industry contracted by 20% - said Tim Jackson, sales director for Asean market of Fujifilm Sericol Ltd, a global manufacturer of printing inks.

At that time, the global printing market took three years to recover to its previous level, said Mr Jackson, who is currently based in Bangkok.

He forecast that a decline in business confidence would trigger cuts in staffing and in corporate advertising globally over the coming months. Companies have already reduced their capital expenditure on inessential equipment, he said.

In Asia-Pacific, he expected significant consequences from large retailers such as Tesco Lotus, Unilever and Casino (Big C) cutting, or becoming more cautious with, their advertising budget.

"In Thailand, there is a double impact of confidence issues with [domestic] political instability making investors nervous in addition to the global economic crisis," said Mr Jackson.

Adiwatra Chanapokakul, the Asia-Pacific ambassador for the Federation of European Screenprinters Associations (Fespa), said the printing industry was reflecting the world's economic turmoil.

He said the industry in the Asia-Pacific region was expecting growth of around 5-6% this year - far below the average annual growth of 20-25% seen in the last four years.

Fespa, which has members from 28 national associations in Europe and seven in Asia-Pacific, is hosting the first Fespa World Expo Asia-Pacific at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center (Bitec) from Nov 28-30.

The trade show will feature 160 exhibitors and will be a showcase for the latest wide-format digital printing technologies. Organised in collaboration with the Thailand Exhibition and Convention Bureau (TCEB), it is expected to attract over 10,000 visitors, about 35-40% from abroad, Mr Adhiwatra said.

Supawan Teerarat, the TCEB director for exhibitions, said foreign participants were expected to spend at least 500 million baht, excluding business transactions with local exhibitors during the two-day event.

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