Four trends of the 3D printing market in China

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The 3D printing Chinese market is more and more attractive for both European and American companies. Every time there is a new application, a new innovation or a new incorporation of an international company on this market, we can’t stop remembering the government’s expectations for the next three years.

During the Additive Manufacturing Conference & Exhibition of China 2018 held at Hangzhou World Expo Center from July 26-28, a market research and consulting firm highlighted 4 trends of the current additive manufacturing market in China.

China: the good and the bad…

The growth of Chinese companies in the 3D printing market

All Chinese companies are not directly interested in an international expansion. China is a very big market and some companies prefer to acquire and develop their presence and authority on their country first.

According to Innova Research, most of the companies are universities’ spin off. Over the years, research teams in universities led to the creation of dozens of 3D printing companies, which constituted the backbone of the Chinese 3D printing industry today. “On the interviews conducted at the conference with a number of the leading players presented, Innova Research was told that they made significant progress in the last three years, as their revenues are growing and product categories are expanding.

An interesting growth of 3D printing materials suppliers

At the international level, we got used to hear about leading brands such as Polymaker which signed partnerships with European companies and launched its own program to develop this specific area of the 3D printing market. However, there are also a large number of domestic 3D printing materials suppliers that manufacture products such as photosensitive resin, metal 3D printing powder, polylactic acid (PLA) and other degradable 3D printing materials, among others.

Consumer 3D printers market is currently decreasing

In the past few years, the consumer 3D printer market did not grow as fast as most 3D printer makers expected. At the exhibition, most visitors paid large attention to commercial 3D printers and their applications in medical and other industry user cases, rather than on consumer 3D printers. Innova Research believes that 3D printers are still not ready to boom in the consumer market.”

The priority remains to discover “killer 3D printing applications”

This exhibition demonstrated that medical, construction and industrial design are the leading applications of this niche market. The construction industry is not really a surprise because Chinese companies are even the pioneers in this area of the industry. As for medical, the reason is simple: it is currently one of the most profitable applications of the 3D printing industry. However, this shows that the Chinese market does not yet take advantage of the potential of AM in Aerospace and automotive, two other leading applications.

Lastly, despite these two last points, we should agree with Richard Jun Li, the founder and general manager of Innova Research that the “Chinese 3D printing market has become active again after a period of silence, thanks to the continuous efforts made by the industry players who improved the technologies with both 3D printers and 3D printing materials and explored more and more 3D printing applications. Meanwhile, the development for the killer application(s) is still the priority task for 3D printing players in the next few years.”


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