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.