In order to strengthen communication and cooperation within the 3D printing industry, the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance and Materialise have entered into a partnership agreement that was officially signed at Materialise HQ in Leuven, Belgium on Monday, November 25th. The signing ceremony marked the start of a structural collaboration between Materialise and all the players currently active in the Chinese 3D printing market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Materialise, as a member of the Alliance, committed to support other members of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance by providing software and training. On its part, the Alliance committed to promoting the legal use of Materialise's software.
In China, where Materialise has been active for a number of years, interest in 3D printing is growing explosively. According to Luo Jun, executive chairman of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, revenues from products and services in the industry in China alone may be expected to grow to 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) within three years. This optimism is based on the funding that the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, formed late last year, is receiving from China's central government. Although the 3D printing industry in China goes back some 20 years, the country has announced that it is now seeking to take bolder steps to develop the technology. The alliance, whose 40-odd members include 3D industrial leaders, research institutes and universities, aims to establish a national 3D printing technology R&D base, by building 10 innovation centers for 3D printing technology in 10 cities in China. The planned investment for each center is 20 million yuan ($3.3 million).
For Materialise, the partnership is a welcome formalization of the company's longstanding relationship with China. As Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen explained: "Materialise has long been active in the Chinese market and although we have supported many companies over the years, we were still somewhat on our own. Now, as members of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, we will be working together with all of the major players in the Chinese 3D Printing market, with the shared goal of unleashing 3D Printing's full potential in China in a sustainable and healthy manner."
In turn, Luo Jun highlighted the benefits of improved collaboration and communication between players in China's 3D Printing industry and pioneers in the industry, and invited Materialise, and others in the industry, to take part in the 2014 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition, to be held in Qingdao from June 19-22, 2014. The event will feature a 3D Printing Creative Competition, a 3D Printing Makers Competition, a 3D Printing Fashion show and an exhibition of the latest 3D Printing technologies, equipment and products.