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China’s exports of 3D printers soared during the epidemic in Europe and the US. Sales of 3D printers on Aliexpress, China’s largest B2C cross-border e-commerce platform, doubled year-on-year during the epidemic, according to aliexpress. With global supply chains affected by the epidemic, 3D printers made in China are selling like hot cakes on Aliexpress, offering a new way to try to stabilize supply chains.

“Years ago we advised merchants to stock up in overseas warehouses.” Li Xiang, head of aliexpress 3C industry, said that aliexpress, backed by Alibaba Group’s years of accumulated data infrastructure and technical capabilities, has an accurate insight into overseas consumer demand and guided merchants to make preparations in advance. Those who have stocked their goods overseas have not been affected by the epidemic and have “tasted sweet”.

China’s OUTPUT of 3D printing equipment rose 87.7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, boosted by strong overseas sales, and the growth rate climbed further to 344.7 per cent in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Domestic 3D printer manufacturers are mainly located in Shenzhen, Dongguan and the Yangtze River Delta in the Pearl River Delta, with a solid foundation in foreign trade and generally bucking the trend in the epidemic.

A big reason 3D printing sales are so hot is that 3D printing offers new possibilities for solving global supply chain problems. The global speed sell ming-qiang wang, general manager, said: “the global supply chain, mainly traditional offline channel during outbreaks, overseas a lot of factories closed, offline limited circulation channels, but online cross-border channel is unimpeded, so many people in speed sell pass on buying 3 d printer to print masks, auto parts, and even print aircraft parts.”

Last December, Russian media reported that the chief designer of the Russian aircraft factory used 3D-printed parts to repair the mig-31. He bought his 3D printer and supplies online through Aliexpress for 16,000 rubles, or about 1,800 yuan.

Since the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the global supply chain, with a large number of factories shutting down, sales and logistics channels breaking down, and the supply of spare parts for many products being cut off. 3D printing, characterized by fast, small batch, mold free, flexible manufacturing and on-demand production, bypasses these supply chain breakpoints, saves the time and cost of mold opening production, and provides a new path to stabilize supply chain.

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