Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo 2014 moved to Asia and Pacific after three shows in Berlin, New York and Sao Paolo. The year so far has been extremely successful for the organizers and expectations were high for the Korean show held in Seoul last week, June 12-13. The event turned out to be the largest Inside 3D Printing show so far in terms of exhibitors and the number of visitors. It promises very good for the other up coming shows in the region, Melbourne being the next, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The Inside 3D Printing Seoul was held in Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX), which had partnered up with Mediabistro to organize and promote the show. KINTEX, which is owned by the government, had really put effort to deliver a world class tradeshow. The whole event was incredibly well organized; the exhibition area was well set up and the size of conference banners were literally all over the place and nearby streets. The largest banners were close to half of the size of a football field.
The number of exhibitors was incredible, especially the number of local companies. Stratasys and a local entry level 3D printer manufacturer, ROKIT, had the largest expo spaces, and their booths seemed to draw most of the crowd. I was surprised that 3D Systems, who had previously had the nr 1 exhibition space, was not present at all. Not even a local distributor representation. Materialise had their Asian team present. Matsuura, the metal 3D printing manufacturer had come from Japan to represent. Artec Group was displaying their latest 3D scanning technology. Most of the other exhibitors were local distributors and resellers of the well-known 3D printer brands, such as Mcor, MakerBot, Ultimaker – mostly various entry-level 3D printers. And of course, 3DPI had a booth. Although, we had a small language barrier with most of the Korean visitors. Our Korean correspondent, Mark Lee, was kind enough to help us with the booth. He had 3D printed our logo, which we put on display at the booth. Mark had a translator with him, who was very helpful with the local communication.
The conference program looked solid overall, although I didn’t have chance to listen many of the speakers, due to the booth responsibilities. Keynotes speakers were GM of Stratasys Korea, Daniel Thomsen, ROKIT CEO, Seok-Hwan You and CEO of Materialise Malaysia, Wim Michiels. Seok-Hwan You made quite an ambitious statement in his keynote, saying that ROKIT will be the largest entry level 3D printer company by 2017. We met with him afterwards, and asked about how they plan to get there. He just smiled said “We’ll see”. He seemed like a very nice guy and the right man to his position. As someone earlier had said, he is not a maker – he is a businessman. Perhaps that will be in his advantage in the long run.
The official visitor numbers are not out yet, but I would guess the total visitors were in around 5000-7000 over the two days of action. Even during the second day around 5pm there were still people queuing up in the registration desk. The organizers seemed very pleased with the number of people who showed up.
All and all the show was big success for us as well. Meeting Mark Lee and his family for the first time in person was great. Hopefully we can tighten up the relationship in the Korean storefront in the future. It always very nice to see Alan and the guys from Mediabistro. We had a good talk with few other prospective opportunities, but more about that in the future.
Next stop, Melbourne!