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Lux Research: China looks to be a leader in 3D printing

Some conventional wisdom holds that the growing popularity of 3D printing will help manufacturers better compete with Chinese rivals, but don’t count China out just yet, says a new report from Lux Research Inc., a Boston-based research firm that advises companies on technology trends.

One promise of 3D printing is that it could lead to more flexible locally based production. In theory, that could offset some of China’s advantages as a manufacturing powerhouse.

However, in a report titled “China’s Growing 3D Printing Ecosystem,” Lux researchers note that China is also “rapidly embracing 3D printing.”

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“While 3D printing has been touted as a way for Western economies to compete with China’s manufacturing advantages, the Asian giant is also taking rapid strides to parlay its traditional strengths into 3D printing as well,” Richard Jun Li, Lux research director and the lead author of the 3D report, said in a statement. “Far from being disrupted by 3D printing, China will thrive as its expertise in electronics, manufacturing, and its growing domestic market make it a threat and an opportunity for aspiring 3D printing value chain participants.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.