APPPExpo 2020 Combines Eight Themes in a Single Location

Most attendees were local amid pandemic concerns



Eve Padula


Originally scheduled for March of this year, the Ad, Print, Pack, & Paper Expo (APPPExpo) 2020 event was postponed until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show, which took place from July 21-24 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, combined eight themes in a single location. These themes included digital printing, digital textile printing, express printing & graphics, creative printing & packaging, digital signage, 3D printing, digital displays, as well as commercial art displays.



Although hosting an event during a pandemic is never without challenges, the staff worked diligently to make this year’s event as normal as possible. That said, no overseas OEMs or end users were permitted to attend, and some Chinese vendors also opted not to participate due to ongoing concerns about the virus. APPPExpo 2020 welcomed over 1,000 exhibitors as well as over 106,000 visitors and buyers, but it was still the lowest attended since the show’s inception. To help exhibitors, media and associations, Industry experts, as well as buyers seek business opportunities, this year’s event conducted 36 live broadcasts online and launched a series of online platforms to better connect with overseas exhibitors and visitors (including several textile vendors).


Highlights from the Event

As was the case for many countries, China had a 14-day quarantine policy for non-residents. As a result, most attendees were local. Additionally, the number of on-site purchases was also quite low. Overall, this year’s event was very quiet and primarily served as an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their offerings.


APPPEXPO 2020 organizers built an online platform for exhibitors and conducted live-streaming, AAA online seminars, and other diverse platforms so domestic exhibitors, international media associations, industry experts, and buyers could communicate and promote their business opportunities more effectively.


Key highlights from this year’s event included:

  • Although the scale of this event was certainly much smaller than usual, organizers and exhibitors attempted to connect with overseas end users via online seminars. A total of 36 virtual sessions were held during the show.
  • COVID-19 has also had a negative impact on the textile/fashion and signage industries, and print service providers were generally less interested in equipment investments this year. Manufacturers offered discounts on devices and supplies, but numbers were still down.
  • Low barriers to entry and a sea of similar products have created a price war. There are a great many players in the marketplace, but most do not offer major differentiators in terms of machine specifications, print quality, or speed. As a result, manufacturers have been forced to compete on price to maintain market share.
  • UV-curable hybrid devices had a greater presence this year than in years past. This is due to several factors. For one thing, PCB board vendors have been strongly promoting hybrid devices, and more printer vendors are also introducing hybrid devices to differentiate their offerings. Ink is another factor, as domestic Chinese ink can now support these hybrid devices. Hybrid is also more flexible for handling short-run jobs, which may help contribute to its future success.
  • Most OEMs provide multiple specification options with a single device to enable customization. End users can then choose the type, brand, and number of printheads based on their needs. Although the supply exceeds demand in the graphic printing industry, the opposite is true for textiles and industrial printing.
  • Several overseas brands (e.g., Colorjet, DGI, Dilli, EFI, Epson, Homer, HP, Kornit, Massivit, Mimaki, Ricoh, Roland DG, and Signstar) that were present at APPPExpo 2019 did not join the event at all in 2020. As a result, APPPExpo 2020 had a much lower representation from overseas textile and wide format players.


The Bottom Line

Few would argue that the global pandemic has made 2020 a year like none other, and even postponing APPPExpo 2020 did not keep this year’s event from being rather subdued. Even so, APPPExpo 2020 provided a much-needed opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their latest products to locals. There is no telling what 2021 will bring, but everyone would like to see equipment purchases rebound as we emerge from the pandemic. With any luck, APPPExpo 2021 (dates TBD) will take place under different circumstances.


Keypoint Intelligence has published a much more detailed overview of the 2020 APPPExpo event to clients of its Wide Format and Functional & Industrial Printing consulting services. Subscribers of these services can access the full show review here. Non-subscribers can simply e-mail us at for more information.