2016 is going to be a monumental year for 3D printing, where the faster technology everyone has been waiting for will be on the scene. HP’s MultiJet Fusion technology will hit the market; the Carbon 3D printer may be available, as will many other upgraded technologies. I stated in the beginning of this year that materials and acquisitions will be the centerpiece stories to follow throughout 2015. Today, 3D Systems made an announcement in line with this trend.
3D Systems announced that they recently acquired Easyway Design and Manufacturing Co. in China. The Easyway Group is a successful 3D printing service and sales operation in China, with offices in Wuxi, Bejing, Guangdong, Chongquing, and Shanghai. May Zhou, Easyway’s founder and General Manager, is hopeful that the merger with 3D Systems will allow both the quality and number of 3D printing products available to their customers to grow.
Zhou said, “We are excited to become part of 3D Systems, a leading provider of the most complete portfolio of 3D digital design and fabrication solutions available today. We plan to leverage our collective knowledge and experience for the benefit of our customers by building a stronger local presence and immediately delivering the full range of 3DS products throughout China.”
Avi Reichental, President and Chief Executive Officer, 3D Systems announced that May Zhou would be heading up 3D Systems China. He said, “We are thrilled to join forces with Easyway and together expand our business in China, with operations in key Chinese cities and well-established 3D printing sales and service bureau operations, Easyway represents the cornerstone of our expansion plans for China. We believe that the strong relationship and strategic fit between our companies, combined with Easyway’s on-the-ground infrastructure, coverage and deep customer relationships, could present significant benefits for our customers, sizeable growth opportunities for us and long term value for our shareholders.”
What does 3D Systems get out of the deal besides an expanded market? Easyway brings extensive experience working in the competitive Chinese market and a strong platform with which to scale 3DS’ Quickparts custom manufacturing operations. It would also be safe to assume that a presence in China offers 3D Systems access to cheaper large scale manufacturing options, in general. Additionally, Easyway already has relationships with several leading companies with operations based in China that could become advantageous partners for 3D Systems, including Nissan, Black & Decker, Panasonic, VW, Philips, Omron, and Honeywell.