Laser-cutting machines made in China are gaining a greater share of overseas buyers. For that, business executives largely credit domestic development and production of laser sources, the core part of the equipment.
Over 326,300 laser cutting machines were sold to overseas markets during the first three quarters of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 76.4 percent, with sales amounting to $1.23 billion, according to Huaon.com, an information consulting platform.
The United States, South Korea and Russia are the top three markets by export value for laser cutting machines made in China.
"Domestic companies have made breakthroughs in developing and producing the core parts, such as the laser sources, which were once dependent on buying from overseas producers, and the core parts have been put into mass production, substantially bringing down prices of laser cutting machines," said Ma Tongwei, general manager of Shandong Raytu Laser Technology Co Ltd, a high-tech enterprise based in Jinan, Shandong province.
In 2020, Ma entered the laser equipment market, mainly laser cutting machines, which fell in price from 1 million yuan ($147,400) to 300,000 yuan over several years.
Raytu's exports have continued to grow over the past three years. Sales in 2022 were expected to double those of 2021, Ma said.
Laser cutting machines are widely used across the world, including in developing countries like Brazil and Thailand, said Alibaba.com.
The business-to-business platform that helps facilitate foreign trade expects China to have a 30 percent share of the total global laser equipment supply in five years.
Ma is betting big on the field, spending 20 percent of the company's annual sales income on research and development of laser technologies to produce customized and high-end products.
Raytu is one of the hundreds of Shandong-based companies targeting the laser industry for both domestic and overseas markets.
China's transition to new, high-tech industries has boosted demand for laser equipment domestically, experts said. Laser cutting and welding machines are used in many factories to improve product quality, reduce costs and enhance competitiveness.
To tap the market, Jinan has built a community of 45 companies and organizations dedicated to laser equipment innovation and entrepreneurship. It has developed an industry chain that covers research, development and production of crystal materials, chips, laser sources and other laser equipment, officials said.
Laser equipment produced in Jinan is sold in more than 180 countries and regions.
In Linyi, Shandong, a laser technology industrial park now under construction has attracted eight equipment development and production companies, including top players Penta Laser and HG Laser. The park expects to attract 50 companies and create 1,500 jobs, local government officials said.
The industry is expected to continue to develop rapidly as China encourages intelligent and high-quality manufacturing, according to Huaon.com.
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