State of the 3D Printing Market in China

State of the 3D Printing Market in China-min

First introduced in the 1980s, additive manufacturing or 3D printing has come a long way from being just an experimental concept to becoming a driving force in today’s production world. The global market size for this disruptive technology is predicted to increase exponentially; In China it reached $7.93 billion by the end of 2022, estimated to surge up to $34.5 billion by 2028.

The 3D printing industry in China has experienced rapid growth and development, making it the second-largest market in the world with a 17% share. This growth can largely be attributed to widespread adoption across various sectors – all in pursuit of increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In this blog post, we will explore China’s role in the global 3D printing industry, dominant players in the Chinese market, regulatory environment, advantages and challenges for foreign businesses looking to enter, and much more.

Key Takeaways

  • China is the second largest market in the world for 3D printing and is expected to reach a market size of over 11 billion USD by the end of 2023.
  • Dominant players in China’s 3D printing industry include FacFox, Unionfab, and FlashForge, each with unique strengths and weaknesses.
  • The growing demand for 3D – printed products presents opportunities for businesses looking to tap into China’s thriving manufacturing industry.
3D Printing Market in China-min

Dominant Players in China In the 3D Printing Industry


They provide a wide range of custom manufacturing options utilizing advanced 3D printing technologies. Based in China, FacFox serves various industries including automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer goods, and electronics.

FacFox offers rapid prototyping and low-volume production services to help businesses bring their ideas to life quickly and efficiently. Their state-of-the-art 3D printers enable the production of highly detailed and accurate prototypes and end-use parts. With a focus on quality, FacFox ensures that the manufactured products meet the exact specifications and requirements of their customers.

In addition to 3D printing services, FacFox provides design assistance and material selection guidance to help optimize the manufacturing process. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and offer personalized solutions to achieve the desired results. FacFox’s expertise in 3D printing technologies allows them to deliver cost-effective and time-efficient manufacturing solutions.



Established in 2013, Unionfab has become a prominent player in China’s 3D printing industry. They offer a wide range of 3D printing technologies, including FDM, SLS, and SLA. Serving industries such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, consumer goods, and education, Unionfab provides customized solutions for prototyping, product development, and small-scale manufacturing. Their advanced technologies enable the production of complex geometries and functional parts, helping businesses reduce costs and shorten product development cycles.

Unionfab also develops its own line of 3D printers known for their precision, speed, and material compatibility. With a strong focus on research and development, Unionfab continuously innovates to improve its printers’ performance and capabilities. They collaborate with industry partners and academic institutions to stay at the forefront of 3D printing advancements.

Known for its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, Unionfab has gained a reputable position in the Chinese market. They aim to provide cutting-edge solutions that support the growth and success of businesses. Through its comprehensive offerings and dedication to innovation, Unionfab continues to contribute to the advancement of 3D printing technology in China.



As a prominent player in the desktop FDM/FFF 3D printer market in China, FlashForge has been leading the way since its establishment in Jinhua back in 2011. Being one of the first professional 3D printing equipment and materials R&D and manufacturing Chinese companies, FlashForge has grown to become one of the top five dominant players in terms of revenue according to an IDC report.

Their expertise lies mainly in developing affordable high-quality 3D printers for various industries worldwide. With more than ten years of experience under its belt, FlashForge continues to remain innovative with advancements such as its cloud-based model-sharing platform that allows users globally to share images online.

Their dedication to providing creative solutions for customers is evident through their constant efforts towards improving print quality while keeping costs low. As part of this commitment, they ensure that all their products achieve global standards compliance by continually testing them against industrial benchmarks before release into the market.


Performance Review Of Each Player’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, And Threats (SWOT Analysis)

In this section, we will evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT Analysis) of the dominant players in the Chinese 3D printing industry. The purpose of this analysis is to provide a comprehensive understanding of each player’s competitive position and potential for growth in the market.

FacFox– Large and diverse material selection.

– Competitive pricing.

– Strong focus on customer service.
– Limited brand recognition internationally.

– Reliance on third-party manufacturers.

– Less advanced manufacturing capabilities compared to global leaders.
– Growing demand for 3D-printed products in China.

– Expansion into international markets.

– Continued innovation in materials and printing technologies.
– Increased competition from both local and international players.

– Intellectual property challenges.

– Regulatory changes that may impact the industry.
Unionfab– Cloud-based manufacturing platform.

– Strong focus on research and development.

– Collaboration with leading Chinese universities.
– Limited global brand recognition.

– Heavily reliant on domestic market growth.

– Smaller portfolio of materials compared to competitors.
– Limited global brand recognition.

– Heavily reliant on domestic market growth.

– A smaller portfolio of materials compared to competitors.
– Limited global brand recognition.

– Heavily reliant on domestic market growth.

– A smaller portfolio of materials compared to competitors.
FlashForge– Wide range of high-quality 3D printers.

– Strong global distribution network.

– Well-established brand in the industry.
– Limited focus on industrial applications.

– Heavily reliant on their printer hardware for revenue.

– Potential quality control issues in manufacturing.
– Increasing demand for industrial 3D printers.

– Expansion into new markets and applications.

– Continued innovation in printer technology.
– Local and international competitors.

– Intellectual property risks.

– Changing government regulations that may impact the industry.

What Sectors/Industries Are Driving This Demand?

  • Aerospace Industry: This industry in China is investing heavily in the R&D of 3D printing technologies, which is driving demand for additive manufacturing.
  • Automotive Industry: The utilization of 3D-printed metals in the automotive industry is influencing demand for the global 3D Printing Metal Market.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry: The pharmaceutical industry is using these printing to manufacture personalized drugs and medical devices.
  • Tooling Industry: The industrial sector’s demand for 3D printing tools and tooling is contributing to the growing demand for the global market.
  • Construction Industry: While still a relatively small segment, the construction industry is beginning to adopt 3D printing as a way to create cement structures at lower costs.

Regulatory Environment For 3D Printing In China

You need to understand the relevant laws, regulations, and government initiatives in this industry if you want to enter this field in China.

Currently, Chinese intellectual property regulation has not yet covered the area of 3D printing technology; however, there are current Chinese laws and policies that address potential trademark infringement related to 3D printing.

For example, Article 52 of China’s Trademark Law prohibits any act that infringes upon a registered trademark.

Moreover, some cities in China have implemented regulations specific to the 3D printing industry. In Chongqing for instance, companies involved in 3D printing must register as a “special industry”. The city also requires registration with the local environmental protection bureau due to concerns about pollution from waste materials generated by the production process.

One other thing worth mentioning here is that several government initiatives have been launched in support of emerging technologies including additive manufacturing such as healthcare innovation supported during the Covid-19 pandemic response.

3d printer

Advantages Of 3D Printing In China

One of the key technological trends driving China’s 3D printing industry is “scan-to-model” or “2B+” service providers that offer customized solutions for businesses that require complex designs.

Moreover, with advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), automation has become increasingly prevalent within the manufacturing process, reducing production costs while maintaining product quality consistency.

For instance, UnionFab has been using AI algorithms to correct design flaws automatically while ensuring the efficient use of materials during production processes.

Many companies have reported significant cost savings due to reduced labor costs, material usage, and more efficient use of resources. The ability to produce complex designs quickly has also enabled faster product development cycles and shortened time-to-market for new products.

This benefit is particularly crucial in an industrial sector where competition is fierce, such as the manufacturing hub of China.

Challenges For Foreign Businesses in the Chinese 3D Printing Market

One of the biggest hurdles is navigating cross-cultural communication and adapting localization strategies that align with China’s business culture. This includes understanding social norms, etiquette, language barriers, and regulatory differences as you establish relationships with potential partners or suppliers.

Another challenge faced by foreign businesses in China’s 3D printing industry relates to supply chain disruptions due to disruptions in manufacturing and transportation industries caused by natural disasters or pandemics such as COVID-19.

Further operational challenges experienced by foreign businesses include intellectual property protection issues where various companies take advantage of open-source technology without obtaining proper authorization from patent holders.

Potential Approaches For Entering The Chinese 3D Printing Market

As a marketing manager interested in exploring China’s 3D printing industry, it is important to understand the different approaches to market entry. Here are three options to consider:

  1. Partnerships: One way to enter this market is by partnering with a local company. This approach allows for sharing expertise and resources while also benefiting from established relationships with suppliers, distributors, and customers.
  2. Joint Ventures: Another option is to form a joint venture with a Chinese partner. This approach offers access to local knowledge and resources while sharing risks and rewards.
  3. Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOE): Lastly, setting up a WFOE in China allows for full control over the business operations but requires significant investment and compliance with complex regulations.

When considering any of these options, it’s important to do thorough research on the regulatory environment and cultural factors that may impact your business dealings in China’s 3D printing industry.

Future Of 3D Printing In China

Emerging Trends And Innovations

As China advances in the 3D printing industry, key trends and innovations are emerging. New materials development is a notable trend, expanding the possibilities of 3D printing. Metal 3D printing is also on the rise, becoming more accessible and cost-effective. Additionally, larger-scale projects using 3D printing, like the printing of an entire apartment building, are gaining attention. These trends demonstrate the continuous evolution and innovation of China’s 3D printing industry.

Potential Impact On China’s Economy

The adoption of 3D printing in China could disrupt its traditional manufacturing economy based on scale and low-skilled labor. However, challenges like technological gaps and limitations in mass production capabilities need to be addressed for widespread implementation.

Implications For The Global Industry And Economy

The increased adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology disrupts traditional supply chains, allowing on-demand production, reducing inventory costs, and improving delivery times. It fosters product customization, innovation, and competitiveness.

Utilizing advanced technologies such as AI and IoT in smart manufacturing enhances production line performance and minimizes risks associated with unscheduled downtimes.

Case Studies – Success Strategies And Lessons Learned

  • Partnering with local companies: Many foreign businesses successfully entered the Chinese market by partnering with local 3D printing companies. This allowed them to utilize existing networks and tap into local production capabilities.
  • Adapting to Chinese culture: Cultural differences can be a challenge when doing business in China, but adapting to local customs and practices is important for building trust and establishing strong relationships with partners.
  • Focusing on specific niches: With competition intensifying in China’s 3D printing market, successful foreign businesses often focus on specific niches such as dental or medical implants, aerospace parts, or auto parts.
  • Being patient and persistent: The regulatory environment in China can be complex and constantly changing. Successful companies have taken a long-term view and persisted through challenges to achieve success.
  • Protecting intellectual property: Intellectual property rights can be challenging to protect in China’s 3D printing industry. Successful foreign companies ensure that they have taken the necessary steps to protect their IP before entering the market.
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Your Path to Success with Our Agency

If you are exploring the opportunities in the burgeoning China 3D printing market, it is crucial to navigate the potential opportunities and challenges in this dynamic industry. With the market projected to reach $11.05 billion by the end of this year, the growth potential is immense for both local and foreign businesses.

At our agency, we understand the intricacies of entering the Chinese market and have more than 20 years of experience in assisting companies in their ventures. We are here to help you seize the opportunities presented by the Chinese 3D printing market. Whether it’s market research, strategy development, or establishing partnerships, our expertise covers a wide range of areas.

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To overcome challenges, we can guide you in exploring strategies such as joint ventures or wholly foreign-owned enterprises, tailoring them to your specific needs and goals. Collaborating with local players who possess established experience in the industry can provide valuable insights into best practices and help overcome cultural barriers.

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Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you in navigating the Chinese 3D printing market successfully. Together, we can unlock the potential of this exciting industry and drive your business toward success in China.

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