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Printing in China – Weighing Up the Advantages

Within your overall marketing budget, print can be a significant segment.

China can be an attractive option – but the price is not the only consideration.

Below we outline the relative merits of printing in China compared with a European option.

1. Price

There is no doubt that there is an important price difference between printing in China compared with printing in the US. Savings can be significant.

However, it is also true that the savings are almost as good when you compare European print prices. There is a tendency for Americans to assume that Europe is on a par with the US an may well be more expensive. After all, we’ve all heard how much a coffee costs in Paris!

An apples to apples quote with a European supplier may pleasantly surprise.

2. Quality

There is little doubt that there are some excellent printers in China – but, just as there are in other countries, there are some terrible ones too. Telling the difference can be very tricky – and you will need to work with a trusted partner to ensure that you are getting the best print quality available.

3. Timelines

When you print outside of the US you will need to build extra time into your production schedule. Not for the production itself, this will often be comparable. But for the transport. Prices are kept low across the board – and this includes the delivery options. If you need to shave few days off the schedule you may find yourself facing substantial additional transport costs.

4. Language

Despite the many Chinese who speak excellent English, there are technical terms which can lead to confusion. It is often a concern that what was ordered is not – in the end – what is delivered.

Whilst this is often true with European printers, our brokerage is English and Spanish speaking, and we have a great stable of printers with whom we have worked for many years. Our contacts all speak English or Spanish – and this eliminates the risk of confusion. Simple errors such as gloss or silk coatings on paper stocks can cause major problems with clients.

5. Customs

Importing goods into the US can be complicated. Goods coming from Europe have significantly fewer issues than those coming from China. In the main this is due to the paperwork which is presented. We are highly experienced and work with reliable import agents – reducing the risk of materials being held unduly.

6. Materials

The European Union imposes strict regulations on the treatment of paper and inks. You can rest assured that the paper stocks and inks used in Europe meet the highest of international standards. The same cannot be said about the paper stocks, and, especially so, the inks used in China. This creates an environmental consideration which must be built into your evaluation of price proposals.

7. Labor

Whilst there is little doubt that there have been significant improvements over recent years, China does not protect her workers to the same degree as Europe.

8. Tradition

Europe has a deep tradition of printing. It is a skilled profession that stretches across generations and there is a strength of commitment to quality and finishing that ensures that each print project is treated with an impressive level of care. Family run printers that have a four or five generation history are commonplace across Europe. And these printers take a pride in their work which is hard to find in countries without this tradition.

So how do you choose?

Whilst many people are looking to China for the competitive pricing, the smart print buyers are looking to Europe.

They are finding pricing which satisfies their need to reduce costs without compromising on quality. At the same time they are working in an environment which is culturally and linguistically aligned.

If you are considering China for your print requirements, ask us for a quote. You might be surprised at how well we compare.

You would certainly be ahead of the curve as more US print buyers are discovering just how attractive Europe can be. Ask us for a quote today.



Edif. Don Alonso, Ofic 7

Calle Almería, 1

San Pedro Alcántara

29670 Málaga



Spain : +34 95 278 3677

UK : +44 (0)871 717 7884

US : +1 858 707 7468