A new industry finds its way: plotting a course for 3D printing in Korea
The groundbreaking technology of 3D printing is still in its infancy, and massive rewards seem assured for the first companies to develop the powerful and versatile tools necessary to disrupt the current manufacturing paradigm. With 3D printing’s holy grail of speed, accuracy, high volume and affordable up-front costs coming closer with each passing year, questions surrounding the technology become less a matter of if than when – and for the players involved, the focus inevitably turns to the ever more critical question of who.
With Korea acting as a fast follower rather than an innovator in this industry, Korean companies are now setting their sights on catching up to the field in this quickly-developing sector. In this paper, we review the Korean 3D printing industry in its present state, including its most promising opportunities as well as the barriers to success it currently faces. We then put a special focus on the major Korean players, the parts of industry where the technology is most likely to take hold in the coming years, and how both government and business are stepping up to the challenge.
Market potential of the 3D printing industry
With eventual success expected across all sectors of commerce and society, the most realistic avenues of success for the early years of 3D printing are likely to come in the form of B2B undertakings, namely health care, public services (national defense, railway, firefighting, etc.) and the manufacturing industry.
The Korean 3D printing market is expected to undergo a 22.9% CAGR from 2016 to 2019, which is lower than that of the global market at 31%. This difference is mainly due to the relatively late adoption of the technology compared to other advanced countries, which means a longer initial stage is required within the Korean market.
Following current projections, 3D printing is on course to reach a total industry value of US$376 million by 2018. This continuing rise highly correlates with the understanding shared by both government and the general public that the fourth industry revolution, including 3D printing, is the key to future growth.
2 main reasons for growth
- A rapid increase of interest within the education sector
- The government’s strong support for the industry