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Is Asia Poised to Take Over the 3D Printing Industry?
Posted by 3DP4E
INDUSTRY

By Shanie Phillips | Inside 3DP

If recent claims hold true, Stratasys and 3D Systems may want to watch their backs.

In a recent interview we posted with Alan Meckler, the media tycoon and founder of the3D Printing and Technology Fund discussed a recent 3D printing trade show he attended in Seoul, South Korea.

Meckler stated a few rather enlightening facts about the 3D printing industry as we know it.

Changes brewing

Currently, Stratasys and 3D Systems are acclaimed for being the top two companies to watch in the growing industry. Both companies have attained excellent revenue and things seem to be looking up.

According to Meckler, however, there are a number of 3D printing companies based in Korea and the rest of Asia that we should be keeping our eyes on. Various companies at the trade show he attended have been conducting significant R&D in 3D printing and could be poised to make major changes in the industry.

One specific company, Rokit, claims it will be the biggest 3D printing company in the world by 2017. Rokit currently has just 50 employees, yet Meckler seemed rather impressed by them.

What’s even more surprising is that none of the 3D printing companies making waves in Asia are deemed game-changers by the more popular companies here in the West. According to Meckler, big companies are blissfully unaware of the simmering Asian revolution that could be about to burst.

In fact, Meckler says there is “no doubt” that there were Western venture capitalists at the Korean trade show.

Case #2: China

It may seem as if a booming 3D printing industry will cause major damage to Chinese manufacturing. China has the world’s most successful manufacturing industry, and the act of being able to self-manufacture without needing to go through a retailer or wholesaler could certainly harm China’s primary source of income.

According to a Quartz article, China is planning on overcoming this possible hurdle – by taking control of the 3D printing industry.

The article says that that Luo Jun, Head of the Asian Manufacturing Association, stated at a 3D printing conference in Beijing that he expects revenues from 3D-printing-related products and services in China alone to reach $1.6 billion within just three years.

How?

“Luo’s confidence stems from an investment made by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology late last year. It formed the “China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance” to fund 10 research centers at a cost of 200 million Yuan, which will be matched by local governments. The first of these, in Nanjing, was approved in March. Some 40 companies have joined the alliance,” says the article.

Asian domination?

There’s no way of knowing now who will be the 3D printing world leader in a few years to come. All we can do is make educated guesses and projections. If you look at the current state of the industry today and base your projection off of that, it certainly seems as if Stratasys and 3D Systems have nothing to worry about.

But if you take into account the recent verbal musings of Alan Meckler, a man who doesn’t seem to have any motive for kickstarting Asian companies’ careers, then Luo Jun’s assumption might just be something to take into consideration.

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