China's local 3D printer market is expected to overtake the US market this year, with an annual growth rate of over 100 percent, according to IDC.
The research firm added that 3D printer shipments in the China market exhibited a growth rate of over 120 percent last year, driven largely by sales of desktop 3D printers priced under US$5,000.
This growth is expected to continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43 percent in the coming years, with a total shipment of 440,000 units by 2020. The growth will be aided by the Chinese government's initiatives to promote 3D printer awareness and usage within schools and educational institutions.
"To capitalise on this growth, 3D printer vendors will have to discover and meet the demands of corporate users and the trend of industrial transformation in China. Vendors should aim to provide comprehensive solutions in different market segments in order to increase their competitiveness", said Wendy Mok, Research Manager for IDPS at IDC China.
Despite the expected strong growth rate of China's 3D printer market, the US 3D printer market is expected to retain its position as the market leader in terms of market revenue. This is because low-end desktop fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printers priced as low as US$500 are occupying a high proportion of the desktop market.
To counter this, the Chinese government has been heavily promoting development in areas of hi-tech manufacturing such as bullet trains, aerospace and aviation, as part of its five-year "Made in China 2025" industrial transformation plan. Demand from these segments for parts made by high-end professional 3D printers is expected to drive the growth of China's 3D printer market, narrowing the revenue gap between the China and US 3D printer markets.
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