Prompted by rising interest in outsourcing manufacturing to Asia, a U.S. packaging machinery group is organizing a trade mission for its members to identify potential Chinese component suppliers.
The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute in Arlington, Va., is planning the trip for May 21-28 to explore the market, said Zhonghui Shen, director of the China office in Shanghai. While most of PMMI's 500 members don't have joint ventures in China or sell into the market, ``every day, there is more interest,'' he said.
``This is a new strategy for our members ... who want to source components to make their machines,'' Shen said.
Fewer than 10 PMMI member companies have joint ventures in China, and only about 40 actively sell into the market. PMMI established the China office in 2000 to help its members navigate the market, he said in an interview at the Sino-Pack trade show, held March 7-10 in Guangzhou.
Shen, who worked for the U.S. Commercial Service in China for 10 years before joining PMMI, said the Chinese packaging industry is developing rapidly. Beijing stopped investing Chinese government funds in the packaging machinery industry in 2000 because the country was losing that money, but since then the industry has moved forward and began exporting to the U.S. about three years ago, Shen said.
``In 10 years, we will see a lot of these guys,'' Shen said, noting that the biggest obstacle U.S. firms have is the Chinese language.
An Italian packaging group attending the Sino-Pack show also reported increased interest in the market among its members. Italian packaging machinery exports to China rose 56 percent from 2004-05, said Emily Tang, a Shanghai-based representative of the Italian Association of Automatic Packing and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers of Milan.