Alongside successful sales and service subsidiaries in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Australia, at the end of last year KBA set up a new subsidiary, KBA Korea Co., Ltd. in Seoul, to cater to a further key industrial growth market in the Far East.
Users of KBA presses are reaping the benefits, since they now have a direct line to the German manufacturing plant, a broader choice of service offerings, local spare-parts accessibility and the services of highly trained local personnel for installations and trouble shooting. There are also plans for a remote maintenance facility. Initially KBA Korea will handle all activities relating to sheetfed offset, commercial web offset and digital presses for the German parent. Sales of newspaper presses will continued to be handled from Germany or by German staff in China.
With effect from 15 April the managing director of the new subsidiary is Kenneth Hansen (54), who has worked in the Asian graphic arts industry for 35 years, the last eight of them as CEO of manroland Northeast Asia in Korea and Japan. Hansen says: “KBA has the broadest and most advanced product range of all press manufacturers and in many sectors leads the field in technology and innovation. So Korea’s vibrant and demanding print market offers enormous potential for growth. In my new capacity as md I am aiming to build on KBA’s success to date in Korea. My primary focus will be on providing competent advice for our Korean customers on investment decisions, backing this up with the best possible service.”
Korea is a key KBA market in Asia. Customer expectations in terms of reliability, performance and quality are particularly high, and KBA is now better placed to address these demands. Most sales to date were of medium-format litho presses plus a few big newspaper press installations and some commercial web presses. They included a Rapida 106 ten-colour perfector for Komsco (Korea Minting & Security Printing) in Daejon and a five-colour Rapida 105 with DriveTronic SIS no-sidelay infeed installed in 2010 at Gomundang Printing in Daegu-Si, which will shortly be joined by six-colour Rapida 105 coater press with automatic plate changing and a board-handling capability. A seven-colour Rapida 105 with coater and UV package was shipped last year to packaging printer Duk Su in Chungchunbuuk-Do.
With no customs duty payable on products from Germany, and the strong yen impairing the competitiveness of Japanese vendors, KBA is aiming to boost sales still further this year. Given the problems that other vendors are currently experiencing, the group is confident of winning new customers alongside its regulars. Among Korea’s packaging printers KBA can build on its outstanding reputation in this high-growth sector.