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China formulates Action Plan for the development of 3D printing industry

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in
China, along with 12 other departments, has jointly formulated (link in Chinese) an Action Plan for the rapid,
healthy and sustainable development of Additive Manufacturing (commonly known
as 3D printing) industry (2017-2020) in China.

In 2015, MIIT, the National Development and Reform
Commission and the Ministry of Finance jointly released the National Plan for
the Development of Additive Manufacturing Industries (2015-2016). The MIIT
press release note that though there have been advances and breakthroughs and growth
in applications, in comparison with some countries, the country still lags in
key technologies and innovation capability. There is also a need to improve the
breadth and depth of the applications of the technology.

Hence, this action plan created in response to these
shortcomings, will focus on strengthening core research & development, as
well as speeding up applications of the technology and its adoption in industry.

According
to Xinhua
, the MIIT is going to increase fiscal support for 3D printing
companies. It will also encourage diverse financing models, including stock
market listings and issuing bonds. Financial leasing will also be promoted. Foreign
firms will be encouraged to set up research and development centers in China,
according to the guidelines.

The Plan aims to foster two or three domestic firms which will
have their products recognised in overseas markets and will be able to take on
global rivals.

With increasing industrial applications of 3D printing
technology, production lines and process flows in manufacturing will be
impacted. By 2020, more than 100 pilot demonstration projects will be conducted
to promote the application of additive manufacturing in 10 key manufacturing
industries, such as aviation, automotive and ship-building, and drive its
applications in the areas of healthcare, education and culture.

The Government expects China's additive manufacturing industry
to have annual sales revenue of more than 20 billion yuan (US$ 3 billion) by
2020, with an average annual growth rate of 30% or higher.

The development of additive manufacturing technology, is
also expected to bring up challenges in areas such as public safety, and
intellectual property rights.
 

During the compilation of the "Action Plan", industry
experts and government departments suggested that precautions should be taken to
enhance safety supervision in the additive manufacturing industry. The
Plan of Action explicitly proposes that the establishment of a real-name
registration system for the purchase of additive manufacturing equipment, a
system for filing basic information on the equipment and a system for
registration and filing of practitioners' certification should be investigated.
It also says that illegal/ criminal activities such as the illegal production
of goods or manufacturing equipment by means of additive manufacturing should be
punished in accordance with the law. 

Featured image: Jonathan Juursema/ CC BY-SA 3.0

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