Press Release
September 12, 2011

15th National Printers Convention
"Sustaining Growth Through Continuous Innovation"
Printing Industries Association of the Philippines Inc.
12 September 2011

Senator Edgardo J. Angara
Keynote Speaker

In today's knowledge-based and information-oriented economy, technology and creativity are the primary engines of growth.

The printing and publishing industry is in a unique position, being driven by both technology and creativity. It is a critical part of the creative industries--still nascent in the Philippines but already a major source of wealth in many countries.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) , more than 7 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by creative industries. This share in global output is even projected to increase on average by 10 percent annually. In developed economies, creative industries grow by 5 percent to 20 percent yearly.

United Kingdom, the acknowledged capital of creative industries globally, demonstrates how vital this is to the vibrancy of an economy. Creative industries accounted for 5.6 percent of the country's gross value added in 2008 . Creative industries also generated exports of services amounting to �17.3 billion in 2008, or 4.1% of all goods and services exported.

There were an estimated 182,100 enterprises belonging to the creative industries in 2010�or about 8.7 percent of the country's total number of enterprises. Clearly, creative industries generate an enormous amount of wealth and jobs.

Here in the country, creative industries account for 4.92 percent of GDP, the fourth highest ratio among 12 countries evaluated, only behind the United States, Singapore and Hungary . That translates to the power to generate 11.1 percent of total employment--the highest rate among a dozen countries .

But the Philippines cannot yet be considered a global powerhouse in creative industries. Our exports of creative goods totaled $905 million in 2005, far lower than Indonesia's $2.8 billion and Thailand's $4.3 billion.

To put our creative output in perspective, China's creative goods exports amounted to $61.36 billion. It is the top exporter of creative goods in the world, followed by Italy, Hong Kong, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium and Spain.

We only rank among the top 10 exporters in two subsectors of Arts and Crafts, namely Celebration and Wickerware. But there are other categories of creative goods: Audiovisuals, Design, Music, New Media, Visual Arts and Publishing. These are our potential areas for growth.


At present, we have more than 5,000 printing establishments that directly and indirectly employ 1.5 million Filipinos, according to Mr. John L. Choa, president of this esteemed association . It is a clear proof of your crucial role in economic growth and job generation.

But the industry faces pressing challenges, as shown by a local study . Foremost is tight competition arising from the proliferation of printing establishments, driving prices and profits down especially among small players which dominate the industry.

Competition also arises from the rapid growth of digital and electronic publications, which are now widely accepted substitutes for printed materials such as books, business forms and invitations.

The industry also requires high capital outlay to keep pace with the latest available technologies, as well as high operating costs due to raw materials, postage and even inefficient processes.

Another impediment is the limited supply of skilled labor because of the lack of formal courses on printing.

These point to two main investments that need to be made. First is in technology, which will make processes faster, more efficient and cost effective. Today, information and communications technology is a powerful enabler of expansion and productivity. The industry must possess the capacity to adopt and offer the latest technologies available here and abroad. While there will always be a market for traditional printing services, more and more clients will patronize digital printing and 3D printing.

Second is the investment in human capital, from which creativity, originality and differentiation from competition originates. Since there are no formal coursework offered in schools on printing and publishing, it is up to industry associations like the PIAP to initiate skills training, talent development and even exposure trips abroad. Keep in mind that technology can only raise marginal productivity by so much, but the power of the mind to innovate is almost limitless.

Finally, I encourage the PIAP and the entire printing and publishing industry to see itself as part of the broader creative industries. There is strength in numbers. The more consolidated, organized and cooperative the Philippines' creative industries are, the better it will be able to compete internationally.

It is a very exciting time for the creative industries. Now, products are no longer limited to physical goods but also encompass services. The higher value products are now products of the mind, of the imagination. Information, technology, innovation and creativity are the wealth creators of the future. Let us aim to cultivate and produce no less than these.

Thank you.

News Latest News Feed