Sep 25, 2014 | By Alec

This might not be such a big surprise to some people, but 3D printing technology is booming in South Korea. The number of Korean entrepreneurs and consumers using 3D printing or purchasing 3D printed objects has been rapidly growing, and analysts are projecting that this will continue to be the case: over the period 2013 to 2018, they expect the 3D printer market in South Korea to grow at a tremendous CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 29.7 percent.

This widespread growth of both interest in and usage of 3D printers is at least partly the result of dropping prices. Reduced costs of 3D printers have made them accessible to small entrepreneurs and consumers who were earlier unable to afford this expensive technology.

This has sparked innovation and creativity, allowing both small businesses and desktop enthusiasts to create custom objects and spare parts, from toys to artificial limbs. It is offering people an opportunity to engage with their own creative possibilities and knowledge, rather than having to submit themselves to expensive manufacturing processes. It is therefore hardly surprising that its catching on, though the rate at which it is doing that in South Korea is impressive.

And recently, the South Korean government has been climbing on board. Last summer, they had already revealed to be working on a ten-year strategy to promote the 3D printing industry. And this week, officials from the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, and from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy have revealed more about that strategy.

At a demonstration and policy debate hosted by Electronic Times, Electronic Times Internet and a number of National Assemblymen, officials from those ministries revealed that the South Korean government intends to make the domestic 3D printing industry an economic growth sector and a source for jobs. This South Korean sector is to become the largest and most innovative 3D printing industry of the globe, and they hope to realise this by integrating it with Internet of Things (IoT) and the Big Data and e-commerce sectors.

In short, the Korean government thus seeks to take advantage of South Korea's excellent ICT infrastructure to build an economically vibrant Korean 3D printing environment that creates quality jobs and next generation growth engines.

While exact implementation details are to follow in the near future, Choi Seong-ho, a manager in charge of coordinating of policies from Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning, already shared this with the press. He said, 'We will provide the opportunity to leap forward to intelligent society through intelligent 3D printing industry,' during an announcement segment entitled 'Promoting 3D Printing Industry as Future Strategic Industry.'

He denoted the current consumer-oriented, enthusiast-based 3D printing sector as '3D Printing Industry Version 1.0', while the government strategy intends to expand it to include 'Remote Order-based Production 2.0' and 'Intelligence Integrated Serice 3.0'. All this is to be integrated into the Internet of Things.

Over the next two years, 'Remote Order-based Production' will be pursued by promoting on-demand printing services where people can easily purchase and use 3D-printing design drawings made by others through e-commerce.

According to Choi Seong-ho, subsequent integration with the Internet of Things will allow the creation of an intelligent 3D printing environment where 3D printing services can be operated through smart devices, voice commands and so on. And crucially, the government hopes that industrial and consumer 3D printing will go hand-in-hand during this whole process. He said that '3D printing will initially be disseminated for industrial purposes but subsequently will be integrated with IoT, Big Data, Cloud, etc. so that individual users will use the service.'

In that same segment, the Electrical Engineering manager Kang Hyuk-gi revealed that the government intends to invest approximately 1 billion won (about a million dollars) in a technological development program aimed at creating the next generation equipment for the domestic market.

These government strategies are also designed to keep an eye on the changing nature of the global 3D printing industry, where many essential printing patents are set to expire over the next 3 to 5 years. Kang Min-su, CEO of KwangGaeTo Lab, commented that 'threats from infringements of new patents, and improvement (around) patents still exist. Patent application status of major 3D printing companies should be monitored.'

These announcements were witnessed by nearly twenty South Korean National Assemblymen. They suggested that this investment strategy was crucial for keeping the South Korean industry afloat. Vice speaker of the House, Jeong Gap-yoon, said that, 'with our world's best IT infrastructure and excellent human resources, we can step up to be in the leading position in the 3D printing industry.'

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive