3D Printing Could Challenge or Augment China’s Large-Scale, Low-Cost Model

(Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business) Additive manufacturing could challenge Chinaʼs attraction as a large-scale, low-cost production hub—or alternatively augment it. The Chinese government has picked up on the trend by forming the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance to shepherd development of the domestic industry. It is involved in planning 10 innovation centers in 10 cities that will cost 20 million in total. To date, 3D printing in China has carved out a niche in the advanced manufacturing sector that involves complex parts and exotic materials. Take the automotive industry for instance—3D printing is a boon for designers and engineers because it allows objects with complex designs, like interior voids that minimize weight without sacrificing strength, to be made much cheaper than traditional methods. Additive manufacturing cuts out the long lead times and design techniques like metal cutting or molding.