Jan 3, 2017 | By Tess

As 2017 kicks off, we at 3Ders are more than eager to see what exciting advancements in additive manufacturing are realized. Already, within the first few days of 2017, there are stirrings from the 3D printing industry indicating that this will be a good year for the technology. Tokyo-based printing giant Fuji Xerox, for instance, has announced that it is setting its sights towards China and plans to launch its 3D printing business and cloud services there later this year.

Currently the largest supplier of office printers and document management solutions in the Asia Pacific region, Fuji Xerox is hoping to expand its claim and focus its resources towards increasingly advanced tech products and services. A big part of achieving this will come from the company’s plan to enter into China’s growing 3D printer market.

The announcement was made by Fuji Xerox executive vice-president Masataka Jo, who explained: “What we are trying to do is create a sustainable business model in China by enhancing our solutions development capability there. So our strategy will increasingly focus on the higher end of the market.”

Last year, Fuji Xerox announced it had developed a new 3D printing data format in partnership with the Keio University in Japan. The new data format is meant to overcome existing limitations that exist within 3D printing, such as retaining a 3D model’s colors, materials, and internal structures. The format, called FAV (or FAbricatable Voxel) is capable of storing detailed information at a voxel level, which allows users to control every aspect of their 3D model.

Now, Fuji Xerox is reportedly preparing to enter mainland China’s 3D printer market, which is growing at astonishing rates. According to an IDC report, total 3D printer shipment forecasts for mainland China are expected to go up to 440,000 units by 2020 (up from 77,000 in 2015). The company is expecting its expansion into the new market to come with challenges, however, as Jo explained that Fuji Xerox would need to first establish strategic partnerships before breaking into the 3D printer market—in part because most 3D printing intellectual property is controlled by American companies.

In addition to its 3D printing expansion, the company is also planning to launch its cloud services (called Smart Work Gateway) on mainland China. Just a few months ago, the Japanese company launched its services in Hong Kong, which has so far proven to be an exceptionally profitable market. “Hong Kong is one of the most profitable markets for Fuji Xerox as more than 50 per cent of its revenue now come from services,” Jo commented.

Fuji Xerox’s cloud services include an array of useful components, including a new smart device, app-based automated document workflow, XpressGateway, and technical support. Before expanding into China, however, it is likely that the Tokyo-based company will need to establish or partner with a data centre based in China in order to provide local cloud services. If all goes according to plan, Fuji Xerox is hoping to begin the launch mid-2017, specifically in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Fuji Xerox, a joint venture partnership between Japanese photographic firm Fujifilm Holdings and American document management company Xerox, is also planning to further its standard printing business within China. According to the company, it has already invested around $150 million in China since first initiating business with the country in 1987.

Masataka Jo



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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