At last weeks World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference in Beijing, Luo Jun, CEO of Beijing’s Asian Manufacturing Association (AMA), predicted that revenues from Chinese 3D printing companies are expected to reach 10 billion Yuan ($1.6B) within 3 years.
Although the number of 3D printer manufacturers in Asia has blossomed in the last decade, Luo Jun cautions that 3D printing manufacturers still have a good deal of work ahead of them. “"What we need to do now is to integrate 3-D printing technology with an ongoing industrial transformation and upgrade,” said Jun.
To help further this industrial integration agenda, the AMA has plans to build 10 3D printing innovation centers in 10 cities across China. Each center will be funded to the tune of 20 million Yuan ($3.3M) and will include showrooms and education centers where industrial leaders can familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of 3D printing technology.
As of March, the AMA had already signed an agreement to establish the first of these centers in the heart of the Nanjin Economic and Technological Develelopment Zone. This center will be home to not only showrooms and education centers but also a state of the art R&D lab for the development and refinement of new and old 3D printing methods.
While some more cynical observers might question whethter Luo Jun’s assessment of China's 3D printing future is merely wide-eyed cheerleading, a number of influential foreign voices echoed and advanced his claims. One such voice was that of Graham Tromans, chair of the UK’s Additive Manufacturing Association. In his comments to conference attendees, Tromans said that within three to five years China could be home to the world’s largest 3D printing market. However, Tromans did acknowledge that if China wanted to reach that level it would need to push for advancements in large, industrial 3D printers.