A new round of industrial upgrading is sweeping across the world, and the business drive empowered by technology has become a settled reality.
In the era of new economy, technology-driven industrial upgrading and transformation have become a prevailing trend, both at the national policy level and in the market selection. Within this trend, a group of innovative companies has emerged in the vast market. These companies not only include the famous enterprises making headlines but also numerous startups born with an innovative spirit, flourishing under the national strategy of technological innovation-driven development in the new era, and showcasing their global market leadership through technology prowess and innovative spirit.
EqualOcean's "Technology Innovation, Guiding the Global Market" series of interviews will focus on startup companies in advanced manufacturing, new energy, consumer technology, digitalization, and other fields. These companies possess technological and product innovativeness, global competitiveness, and a global presence. Through close observation of their technology and product development processes and the global vision and vision of their core management, we aim to present the new faces and opportunities of China's technology and innovation-driven enterprises. In this issue, EqualOcean interviews Wu Cuiping Jess, co-founder of Anycubic, a leading company in the 3D printing industry.
EqualOcean: Please make a brief introduction to Anycubic.
Anycubic: Anycubic was founded in Shenzhen in 2015 and is a company that integrates research and development, production, and sales of 3D printers and related products and services. As of 2023, Anycubic's business scope has covered over 200 countries and regions worldwide, with cumulative sales exceeding 3 million units. In the first half of 2023, it obtained over one-third of the market share in the whole-machine 3D printer category on Amazon's overseas sites, and several of its products have maintained Bestseller positions, ranking as a TOP2 player in the industry.
EqualOcean: Where did the core team members of Anycubic come from during the early stages of the company? What were their professional backgrounds, and what kind of enterprise did they envision building?
Anycubic: In 2015, Mr. Ouyang Lu, the founder, foresaw the rising trend of cross-border e-commerce and started his own business, establishing Anycubic. Prior to this venture, Mr. Ouyang Lu had been engaged in international trade for many years and invited his longtime friend, Dr. Ouyang Xin, who was then in New Zealand, to return to China and explore entrepreneurship together. Dr. Ouyang Xin, driven by his passion for technology, became the head of product development and research at the company. Under his leadership, the team developed various product series and popular models such as Anycubic Mega and Anycubic Photon, continuously launching breakthrough technological solutions and products.
Anycubic has always considered talent development as one of the core competitive strengths to ensure the brand's sustainable growth. As the company expanded, Anycubic attracted high-quality talents from various fields in society, making the team more diverse and specialized. The company continuously invested in technology research and development during its development and launched numerous groundbreaking technological solutions and products over the eight years, establishing Anycubic's brand image and position in the consumer 3D printer market.
EqualOcean: What were the early FDM printer products launched by Anycubic mainly used for, and what was the approximate price range of the products? Who were the primary target users? Did the company have a consumables and accessories business from the early stages?
Anycubic: In the initial stage, Anycubic's main consumers were 3D printing enthusiasts in Europe and the United States who had a passion for anime figurines and creative lifestyle products. Anycubic provides high-quality 3D printers at prices below 300 USD for its users. From the very beginning, the company focused on the main business of operating 3D printer-related consumables and accessories. After launching its first FDM printer, Kossel, and subsequent models like Mega, corresponding consumables and accessories were provided.
Anycubic's product PHOTON MONG M5S
EqualOcean: Has the application domain of Anycubic changed during the later stages of product development and iteration? What aspects does the company focus on for improvements and adjustments in product development? Compared to similar domestic companies, what is Anycubic's core competitiveness?
Anycubic: In the early stages, consumer-level 3D printers were mainly used for 3D printing hobbyists and home life enthusiasts. As 3D printers became more popular and technology advanced, the application domain and scenarios gradually expanded. Anycubic followed this trend and gradually expanded into innovative areas such as jewelry design, architectural models, education, and dental applications.
Anycubic has always adhered to the R&D concept of "simpler, more practical, and smarter," committed to creating high-quality 3D printers. The company continuously improves product technology, enhances user experience, and provides services at the most user-friendly prices. With robust scientific research capabilities and advanced R&D capabilities, the product development team at Anycubic includes multiple domestic and international Ph.D. holders. As of June 2023, Anycubic has obtained over 400 domestic and international patents and has been awarded various domestic and international brand and design awards.
Besides technology, Anycubic's core competitiveness lies in product quality control and after-sales service. During the production process, we strictly control quality and ensure that each product meets rigorous quality standards. To provide users with a comprehensive and top-notch experience, we have a professional after-sales team in place, and our sales channels cover major mainstream platforms both domestically and overseas.
Application in dentistry
EqualOcean: When did Anycubic start acquiring overseas market users? When did the company formally expand its overseas user base? Where are the overseas users mainly distributed, and why did the company choose these regions? What are the primary sales channels?
Anycubic: Anycubic's brand has been focusing on the overseas market since its inception. In 2016, we launched the Anycubic Mega, which gained widespread attention in the overseas market. As of now, Anycubic's overseas users are spread across more than 200 countries and regions worldwide, with a significant concentration in the United States and Europe. Compared to domestic users, users in these regions exhibit higher enthusiasm and interest in 3D printers, and the application of consumer-level 3D printers is more widespread, resulting in a large user base.
Our product sales network covers major e-commerce platforms worldwide, including Amazon, independent websites, AliExpress, eBay, Lazada, as well as domestic platforms like Taobao and JD.com. This comprehensive coverage ensures that we can better meet the demands of overseas users for 3D printing technology.
EqualOcean: How do the demands of overseas users for products (such as product types, emphasis on product details, average order volume, etc.) differ from those in China?
Anycubic: In terms of product requirements, there is generally no fundamental difference between Chinese and overseas 3D printing users. Whether it's product quality, ease of use, performance, or technological updates, these are all important factors that users from both regions commonly consider.
There is a slight difference in market maturity between domestic and overseas users. Due to the relatively mature 3D printing enthusiast communities overseas, some experienced hobbyists like to dismantle and modify their printers, showcasing a more "geeky" side.
Additionally, overseas users are more concerned about the application of community resources and copyrights, especially when using open-source firmware and other community resources. They place a stronger emphasis on sharing community resources and respecting copyrights because it impacts the development and growth of the entire community, reflecting a higher level of enthusiasm from both users and brands. As a result, some more professional community users may consider factors like open-source firmware usage and hardware standardization and adaptability when selecting printers.
EqualOcean: European and North American countries, especially the United States and Germany, also have advanced 3D printing technologies. How does Anycubic provide localized services for overseas users? What are the core competitive advantages of Anycubic compared to local 3D printing companies overseas?
Anycubic: We currently provide instruction manuals and user support centers in local languages for users in different overseas regions to ensure that they can better use our products. Moreover, for core regions, we have established user groups for each 3D printer model, which helps us collect and address user feedback promptly, leading to continuous product and service improvements.
Compared to other local 3D printing companies overseas, Anycubic's core competitiveness lies in innovation and the supply chain.
In terms of innovation, Anycubic focuses on the core needs of users and continuously develops and introduces products and features that are loved by users, such as LeviQ automatic leveling technology, industry-leading 12K LCD printers, and the first consumer-level LCD printer with auto-leveling application, etc. Additionally, we actively explore the possibilities of 3D printing technology with cutting-edge and advanced innovations, such as the first consumer-grade MicroLED 3D printer and breakthrough concepts like 1600mm/h mixed-color printing and Photon Nex.
Regarding the supply chain, we can leverage and integrate lower-cost production to develop higher-configured products, providing users with more cost-effective solutions. We strive to enhance product quality and technological level to meet the high-performance, user-friendly, and competitive demands of users in different regions.
EqualOcean: In recent years, the 3D printing industry in China has gained a significant global market share. In the view of Anycubic, what are the new development opportunities for Chinese 3D printing in the international market? What obstacles need to be overcome?
Anycubic: In terms of opportunities, firstly, in the consumer electronics market, Chinese brands have achieved remarkable success, with global users increasingly accepting and favoring Chinese consumer electronic brands in industries such as smartphones and drones. As a nascent category within consumer electronics, it is only natural for Chinese brands to secure a prominent position in 3D printing. With eight years of deep involvement in this industry, Anycubic has gained advantages in understanding consumer needs, technology, and supply chain accumulation, making it a formidable player in this field.
Secondly, China possesses the most complete industrial infrastructure globally, with unmatched resources on the technical supply side, providing product companies with a natural advantage in technology innovation and cost control.
Lastly, in terms of talent resources, with steady economic growth, China's human resources have shown a clear advantage in international competition, both before and after the pandemic. As a technology-driven enterprise, Anycubic considers outstanding talent as one of its core competitive advantages. Our core team mainly comprises post-80s and post-90s individuals, with over 70% of them holding undergraduate degrees. We also continuously attract fresh talent from the post-2000 generation.
While 3D printing applications continue to grow, challenges persist, such as the relatively immature domestic consumer-level 3D printer market compared to overseas markets. However, this also implies that there are more exploration opportunities in this field.
In this context, insights into the demands of different market users are crucial. Due to economic, cultural, and other differences among different countries and regions, the popularity and development of consumer-grade 3D printing vary significantly. Local markets exhibit distinct habits and acceptance levels for 3D printers. For instance, European and American users tend to be older, while Chinese users are predominantly young. Such differences pose an undeniable challenge for brands aiming for global expansion.
Another challenge lies in nurturing the user ecosystem of the 3D printing market. Building a highly cohesive user ecosystem based on the diverse demands of different market users is yet another challenge. This involves competition with existing players, the emergence of new brands, the development, and application of innovative technologies, all of which constantly test a brand's vitality and ability to achieve sustainable growth.
From these challenges arises the significance of possessing technological discourse power. Currently, the entire industry, including software and hardware aspects, has yet to form fully unified industry standards. The ability of industry leaders to establish relevant standards becomes a decisive factor in maintaining a brand's proactive stance and competitive advantage in the field.
Finally, intellectual property rights (IPR) are of utmost importance. IPR is a double-edged sword for brands entering foreign markets. In a specialized industry like 3D printing, where brands are closely scrutinized by various media and users, intellectual property rights become especially crucial. They both limit and benefit brands in the fiercely competitive commercial landscape. Hence, having one's own intellectual property rights is particularly vital. Anycubic places significant emphasis on this aspect, as evidenced by our 400-plus authorized patents worldwide as of the first half of 2023, which powerfully promote the development of our company and brand.