Li Genxu, was the founding developer of specialized banknote printing equipment in China. He was responsible for many lithographic, intaglio, and numbering printing press technologies used to produce billions of Chinese banknotes from the first to the fifth series.
Li Genxu started his journey in the banknote world in 1946, and joined Beijing Banknote Printing Plant in 1949 as an offset printer, later becoming the Vice Chief Engineer and Vice Director of the Plant. He also served as Vice Director and Director of the Printing Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China. In 1986, he was appointed the Chief Engineer of China Banknote Printing and Minting Corp, where he led the key research and development projects until his retirement in 1990.
Li Genxu‘s most renowned invention was the “Four-Color Orlof Offset Banknote Printing Press,” conceived in 1959, the first to combine the orlof technique with offset printing, which won for him the National Invention Award in 1965. In 1963, Li Genxu and his team built the first rotary intaglio machine for China, the “Four-Color Rotary Intaglio Banknote Printing Press” known for its single-plate four-color orlof intaglio printing followed by numbering. The 72 Model prototype combining offset, intaglio and letterpress printing, the 82-II Four-Color Intaglio Banknote Printing Press, the eight-color recto-verso offset printing press for the simultaneous printing of four back and four front colors possible in orlof, and the M81 numbering press all were the results of his inexhaustible creativity and tireless energy.
Li Genxu remained very active after retirement. Under his guidance, the younger generations developed the W92 intaglio press, J98 offset press, and remarkably the revolutionary and unique intaglio press enabling simultaneous recto-verso printing. Li Genxu’s legacy continues to be cherished by his organization and the industry at large.