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Foreign brands dominate China 3D printer market

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Based on its latest report China 3D Printing Market Analysis 2014-2015, IDC has announced that the fast-growing 3D printer market continue to be dominated by foreign brands although Chinese vendors are catching up and growing faster.
The top five players in the China 3D printer market in revenue terms are all foreign brands namely EOS, Stratasys, Renishaw, ZRapid and Solidscape. However, more Chinese vendors placed in the top five for China’s desktop market due to their competitive print quality and prices. Foreign brands Stratasys (Makerbot) and 3D systems topped the list but the rest of the top five in this category belong to Chinese vendors Xery, Flashforge and Beijing Tiertime.
“Foreign brands’ maturity in the technology, print stability and print quality help them maintain their top positions in the market. But the gap between foreign brands and local brands is narrowing as local vendors ramp up their effort to improve their printer’s performance and quality,” says Wendy Mok, research manager of IDC’s Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions research.
In terms of China’s export market for desktop 3D printers, the top three brands Flashforge, Beijing Tiertime and Winbo account for 50% of the market. The large export revenue from Chinese vendors is driven by the price competitiveness of made in China products and the demand to provide OEM services to foreign brands.
“China vendors who are targeting mid-level to high-end users in China and the foreign market will need to start looking at more than just hardware prices as vendors need to incorporate software and services as part of their portfolios,” says Mok. “Traditionally, the competitive advantage of Chinese brands in the overseas market is their relatively low price as compared with foreign vendors.
“New users will always opt for cheaper hardware to test out while existing users that have gained the experience and knowledge in integrating 3D printers into their businesses will tend to opt for foreign brands.”
3D printing is one of six innovation accelerators that IDC believes will fast-track digital transformation in the marketplace. With the support from “Made in China 2025” Master Plan and the 13th Five-Year Plan, it is expected to continue growing in the coming years. However, it is not without key challenges that must be addressed in order for vendors to achieve success in this burgeoning market.