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From consumer products, annual shipments of 500,000 units

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3D printing technology originated from the concept of “additive”, and in 2009, Professor Adrian of the University of Bath in the UK. Boyer developed the RepRap series of desktop 3D printers and evolved the concept of “open source hardware, parts can be manufactured in every home in the world”, bringing new opportunities for the application of 3D printing in industrial and consumer markets.

Creative 3D is a desktop 3D printer manufacturer based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, mainly providing desktop 3D printer hardware products and consumables for home scenes. The company was founded in 2014, and the first product began to sell overseas in 2015. Co-founder Liu Huilin told 36kr that in 2018, more than 90% of Creation3d’s annual revenue came from overseas markets.

In fact, in developed countries such as Europe and the United States, the “geek spirit” and “garage culture” have a far-reaching influence. Many families will purchase 3D printers to print their DIY ideas in real time and make relevant videos to upload to YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. According to its founders, the company’s first hit, the CR-10, generated tens of millions of spontaneously uploaded videos on YouTube. For such users, desktop 3D printer is a necessary toy in daily life. Many users will upgrade their hardware devices with the release of new products, and re-purchase is high.

At present, the price of most desktop-level hardware products of Creation3d is in the range of 3000-5000 yuan, which is tens of thousands higher than the price of foreign brands. It is a cost-effective choice for ordinary family users, and also by virtue of this, the company has rapidly expanded in the overseas market. Overseas markets mainly rely on channel agents to join, the company will provide pre-sales consulting, use introduction, after-sales service and other support work.

Creative 3D has invested a lot in overseas B2B and B2C fields, with a team of more than 150 people in the development and service of the international market, the products are sold to more than 60 countries around the world, the annual output of more than 500,000 units, has been in the top of the domestic enterprises, in the foreign 3D printer market ranking is also in the forefront.

Back to the domestic market, 3D printers have a weak “toy” attribute and a more prominent “teaching aid” attribute. Many universities purchase 3D printers to assist teaching. In terms of marketing channels, the leading companies in the industry almost all choose to cooperate with educational institutions to hold maker competitions and provide hardware equipment for the next generation of “makers”.

Liu Huilin said that the company has specially developed 3D printing machines for maker education, and has launched entry-level, professional and flagship product matrices, and imported maker peripheral products. Develop suitable curriculum materials and various solutions for maker education, and cultivate a team of maker lecturers; Established a Maker education service team (currently more than ten members), and established a maker education 3D printing service system; It organizes, sponsors or supports 3D printing international, national, local or school competitions, and holds 3D printing Maker competitions in many schools every year. This year, it has been confirmed that it will support the BRICS International Competition and the national 3D Printing Skills Competition.

In the 3D printing market, materials, hardware (printers and consumables) and scenes are three important components.

Materials determine the efficiency of printing. Currently, mainstream materials can only meet the printing needs of “geeks”. It may take 3-7 hours to print a product, and the printing accuracy cannot meet the industrial standards of mass production for the time being, so it is difficult to apply to traditional industrial scenes. Many players will use capital support to innovate materials, improve printing efficiency and enhance competitiveness. Typical cases in China, such as the Qing Feng era, currently focus on the industrial scene of 3D printing soles.

Hardware, in foreign open source after the rapid development of relevant technology, essentially become a consumer goods channel business. Creative 3d’s competitiveness is more reflected in the supply chain. It has its own factories in Shenzhen and Wuhan respectively to produce hardware, with annual shipments of nearly 500,000 units, which are sold to 60 overseas countries and regions.

But the hardware business is already facing price wars. In this respect, Creation3d chose a dual brand strategy and launched lower-priced product lines to compete, on the one hand to occupy the market, on the other hand, it also tries to take this opportunity to conduct market education. Some companies choose to do their own platform, distributing printing tasks to nearby printers for free, from which the platform earns consumables fees.

In the consumer scene, Creation3d launched cloud products to provide users with model download, user communication and other services, and with the help of the cloud platform to expand user use scenarios and prolong the use time. In the face of price competition, consumer hardware manufacturers in this circuit will gradually start to try industrial scenarios, such as advertising words, medical scalpel (mainly in vitro tools), increase investment in RESEARCH and development, and launch new product lines. Companies solely relying on hardware sales will face a difficult road to upgrade.

Liu huilin said that in addition to products and brands, the company also attaches great importance to research and development, marketing and other aspects. Up to now, the company has 20000 square meters of production site, more than 500 employees, with standardized intelligent manufacturing workshop, modern office space and national key RESEARCH and development laboratory.

In Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Dongguan and other places with a number of branches, in the United States, Britain, Germany and Russia have set up overseas warehouses, has established a perfect after-sales system, including 24 hours to provide users with online operation training and on-site commissioning, maintenance services.

On the team side, the company has four co-founders, who are in charge of R&D, supply chain, marketing and operations, all of whom have years of experience in their respective fields. The company is also approaching investors to help with resources and development strategies, Mr. Liu said.