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Unexpected Consequences

July 20, 2013

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 06:44

When President Obama named 3D printing in his February 2013 State of the Union address, I doubt he had any idea the impact it would have. He said, “3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” Countless websites, bloggers, reporters, and others have made reference to this statement.

At the May 2013 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference in Beijing, China, no fewer than five Chinese speakers mentioned Obama’s statement in the first morning of the event. They credited him for creating the almost frenzy-like attention that the technology has been receiving in recent months. And, many Chinese believe that 3D printing is the next big thing.

Obama’s remark more than lit a spark in China. It has ignited a raging fire of activity throughout the country. The central government is sponsoring programs and provincial and city governments are doing the same. The activity started in Beijing and then moved to the Anhui province. Most recently, activity and interest are gaining in the Guangdong province, and it is believed that other provinces will soon get involved.

We have never seen so much interest and activity develop so quickly in a single country. As part of it, our company is receiving an unprecedented number of inquires and requests from China. President Obama indeed started something big with his comment in February, but I don’t believe he and his advisers knew that it would lead to what is now underway in China.