While 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) may rule the 3-D printing world today, governments around the world have been stepping up their 3-D printing investments in hopes to one day threaten these giants. According to Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, a leading 3-D printing research firm, the government of Singapore will be investing $400 million around advanced manufacturing, which includes 3-D printing, and one Chinese government investment has pledged $245 million to develop the Middle Kingdom's own 3-D printing technologies and expertise. The U.S. in comparison has pledged a mere $100 million through America Makes, half of which comes from private sector matches.
Although Asia as whole is pouring more resources into 3-D printing than the U.S., investors should remember that the Asian 3-D printing industry is significantly smaller and less established than its U.S. counterpart, where the 3-D printing industry was born. Additionally, the $100 million pledged for the U.S. doesn't include 3D Systems and Stratasys' internal R&D efforts aimed at developing new technologies, improving existing technologies, and bringing new materials to market. In 2013 alone, 3D Systems spent $43.5 million on R&D, while Stratasys spent $52.3 million.
In the following video, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller and Motley Fool industrials bureau chief Blake Bos talk about 3-D printing in the context of government investment. Investors should watch how governments around the world are ramping up 3-D printing investments and how that may affect 3D Systems and Stratasys. For the time being, 3D Systems and Stratasys investors should consider this a developing situation and wait until more information becomes available before taking any action.
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Blake Bos has no position in any stocks mentioned. Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.