Manoj Mehta: Asia Pacific market to have a valuation of USD 282.6 billion by 2031

Manoj Mehta is the president of The Forum of Asia Pacific Graphic Arts (FAPGA). Founded in Japan in 1996; the 21st edition of FAPGA comprises 16 member countries viz. Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand & Vietnam. The latest addition to the list is Pakistan. Manoj Mehta spoke to WhatPackaging? about the highlights of his tenure

28 Mar 2024 | By WhatPackaging? Team

Manoj Mehta: Despite the impact of the pandemic, the industry has demonstrated resilience and continues to grow

WhatPackaging? You were appointed the President on 25 May 2022 in Delhi where its immediate Past-President - Atty. Dominor D. Buhain passed over the shield to you. What have been the activities of FAGPA in the past two years?
Manoj Mehta:
FAPGA has always endeavoured to bring the print and packaging industry across Asia and Pacific nations together, with respect to multiple facets. Unlocking of various economies after the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, posed challenges across various dimensions of Asia-Pacific's print and packaging business.

Transforming multiple challenges into opportunities was the key. As its president, my vision of creating border-free opportunities and encouraging professional, technological, educational and business growth in two years saw an array of activities.

WhatPackaging? Such as?
Manoj Mehta:
Creation of - a borderless platform to nurture this purpose was one of the initial steps. Also, we have a common WhatsApp group where latest innovations, technologies, et al, are exchanged on a regular basis; over and above exchange of reports on printing, packaging, paper, ink and a plethora of relevant topics.

Two Awesome Asia Forums - at Malaysia and Sri Lanka were conducted along with multiple webinars across Asia Pacific nations. HR requirements of everyone under the banner were taken care of; while we arranged for technical assistance for machines as and when required by FAPGA member countries. We also assisted students who aspired for training in FAPGA countries.

WhatPackaging? What is How can its HR section benefit the fraternity?
Manoj Mehta:
Well, overviews everything you want to know about FAPGA. Its HR section stemmed from the current scenario that is witnessing Gen-next and Millennium Z printers looking for a career in print and not merely as a means of livelihood or as heirs of their family businesses.

For this they are pursuing advanced education or specializing in diverse print-packaging streams from global universities. Moreover, Coronavirus with its Work From Home (WHF) arrangements opened-up minds and led employers to hire worthy professionals, irrespective of their location. FAPGA's HR section fosters match-making amongst talented professionals and print companies across Asia-Pacific regions.

WhatPackaging? What are the trends and trajectories you are detecting in Asia-Pacific's print-packaging business?
Manoj Mehta:
Statistics have it that the Asia Pacific commercial printing market was valued at a colossal USD 184.6 billion in 2022. It is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.91% from 2023 to 2031 with a valuation of USD 282.6 billion during the forecast period. Things are looking good, which means we need faster technologies with definite results. Smart Factories with AI and Robotics are the answer to better quality within stringent deadlines. Moreover attaining sustainability by integrating various processes that optimise use of resources and reduce wastage will grow by leaps and bounds.

WhatPackaging? FAGPA's 22nd AGM forum was hosted in Sri Lanka. How is the print and packaging economy of that nation?
Manoj Mehta:
Yes, it was hosted at Colombo by Sri Lanka Association of Printers (SLAP) just a day before the much-awaited Sri Lanka Print Exhibition & Trade Fair 2023. For decades, Sri Lanka's print industry has been a cornerstone of its nation's communication and media landscape. It plays a major role in disseminating information, fostering creativity, and driving the country's economic growth. Printing and packaging is also one of the key sectors that contribute to Sri Lankan exports directly and indirectly.

Export revenue grew from USD 83 million in 2015 to an estimated USD 118 million in 2019. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the industry has demonstrated resilience and continues growing owing to the overall economic growth that in turn has escalated its print demand. The industry's constantly evolving tech-advancements, innovation, increased demand for packaging and e-commerce have propelled its progress. Research has it that Sri Lanka's printing market size is speculated to grow at a higher growth rate during 2023-2029.

WhatPackaging?  Any trade agreements that can benefit print and packaging and publishing?
Manoj Mehta
: While many activities for the benefit of print, packaging and publishing of member countries have been conducted, there is no formal trade agreement between them w.r.t. FAPGA as yet. But you have raised my antennae; shall try to address this aspect in the upcoming AGM.

WhatPackaging?: You hand over the baton to the next President at Drupa. What is FAGPA's expectations (and your expectations) from Drupa?
Manoj Mehta:
To me print always was, and is here to stay. The futuristic technologies at Drupa 2024 such as AI, choice of substrates, etc., will further support print by adding more finesse and precision. As a community of partners and collaborators of Awesome Asia, we have as much to offer the rest of the world as to gain from them – right from innovation to knowledge exchange, and from creative concepts to ground-breaking developments. In fact, I think it is time for us to make our combined presence felt at the forthcoming Drupa 2024 as thought leaders of Asia-Pacific’s print industry. While I welcome the next President, I would say, "Together, we can move mountains and conquer greater summits!"

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