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LASER 2013: China's Competitive Nature
- Feb 23, 2014 -

Still dependent on high-tech imports, China is learning on customer experience, but home-grown laser sales and exports are on the up.

The 11th International Laser Marketplace presentation organized by Optech Consulting this year had a distinctly Asian flavour with no fewer than four reviews and forecasts dedicated to the significant markets of China, Japan, ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and Singapore. 

Dr Qitao Lue, Chief Technology Officer at Han’s Laser, opened proceedings with his generally positive assessment of the Chinese laser market which carried the ingenious title of “Presence and Future”, hinting that if a foreign laser company wants to succeed it really needs to have a base in the country. 

By his reckoning, sales of laser processing equipment in the country have grown steadily since 2006 ($399m) to reach an estimated value of $2200m this year. There were two phases of the sales: relatively slow progress to 2009 ($740m) then a surge during the past four years.

Imports and exports

Over the past three years, imports of laser systems averaged around $800m, tailing off somewhat last year, suggesting that the country is beginning to supply itself, although it was not obvious whether Lue was joking when he commented, “The Chinese laser market is still under foreign control.”

However, further evidence of the expansion of China’s homegrown laser systems is provided

by Chinese Government export figures which rose from $98m in 2010 to $134m in 2011 and $202m in 2012. The big names in Chinese laser-making are: Han’s Laser (no conflict of interest here!), turning over $460m in 2012, Unity Prima ($90m), HG Laser ($80m), Chutian ($50m), and Lead Laser, TianQi Laser and GD Laser, all with sales around $40m.

Lue also presented the 100-strong conference with his estimates of sales into China by some of the bigger international laser and optical component players: IPG Photonics ($100m), Rofin-Sinar ($100m), Coherent ($45m), SPI ($15m), Synrad ($10m),