From Sea to Shining 3D

Shining 3D CEO Li Tao kicks off the international reseller event in Hangzhou, China. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

Shining 3D CEO Li Tao kicks off the international reseller event in Hangzhou, China. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

"We're just doing a small effort in the world of 3D printing,” CEO Li Tao said, humbly presiding over Shining 3D’s second annual global reseller event.

This year, it is being held in its new corporate headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

Those same words spoken by an American would conjure up a couple of 20-something techies with one bright idea between them, hunkered over laptops and lattes in a Silicon Valley startup scrambling for funding.

But “small” in China has a different meaning. Shining 3D is a 680-person firm that already owns much of the China market in 3D printing and scanning. The company has, without the 3D printing giants realizing it, assembled an army of international resellers. A $60 million (estimated) company devotes 20 percent of its revenue to research and development (R&D). But unlike many foreign companies, for whom technology is where it starts and stops, Shining 3D seems devoted to maintaining and growing its sales and marketing team.

While technology is the beating heart of Shining 3D, as is evidenced by the number of patents, the company also places emphasis on sales and marketing. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

While technology is the beating heart of Shining 3D, as is evidenced by the number of patents, the company also places emphasis on sales and marketing. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

The tech heart of Shining 3Dbeats with its engineers.

“We have some very smart engineers,” Oscar Meza, VP of Sales, said. Hundreds of them, no doubt.

The company is composed of four divisions. While R&D, 3D scanners and dental printers are controlled centrally, the E-Plus division makes the industrial 3D printers, including the metal printers. A Beijing TenYoun division handles metrology and 3D inspection products. An ePrint division was formed to handle an online consumer to manufacturing portal. Regenvo concerns itself with 3D printing of biomaterials.

Shining 3Dsought $70 million funding, which may have accounted for a rapid increase in staff the past two years and the new company headquarters.

Command centers for world domination are in place–almost. Shining 3D plans for round-the-clock support for resellers and customers with three major offices. The San Francisco office opens in November. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

Command centers for world domination are in place–almost. Shining 3D plans for round-the-clock support for resellers and customers with three major offices. The San Francisco office opens in November. (Image courtesy of Shining 3D.)

But Hangzhou gives every indication of being a great place to be based. Clean and orderly, it resembles Singapore more than any other Asian city. A tech sector houses many startups and established tech companies, notably Ali Baba. If you’ve not heard of Ali Baba, you need to get out more. It’s valuation exceeds $300 billion, two thirds the valuation of Amazon and more than eBay, making it one of the world’s biggest ecommerce sites. Parks and lakes help make it China’s “fifth most popular city” for tourists, according to one proud staffer.

Shining 3D seeks more international success. An office in Stuttgart is operational and this November, an office in San Francisco will open.

"Having offices in San Francisco, Stuttgart and Hangzhou will give us a round the clock operation,” Meza said.“Our network of resellers will be able to provide service and ship units quicker.”

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