Compared with the international laser processing systems, China's laser processing systems have not yet caught up, producing only 2% of global output. The deficiencies are mainly reflected in the following: there are little or even no high-end laser processing systems; main-force lasers are not yet qualified; micro-laser processing equipment is in shortage. However, China's manufacturers are steadily accumulating strength to step forward, and Chinese market has significant room for growth. It is forecasted that China's sales will double in the next 2-3 years from 1.5 billion RMB in 2004, i.e. the output will reach 3 billion yuan. The reasons are as follows:
• The government attaches importance to the development of the laser industry, and government departments at all levels are actively paying attention to it, making out plans and establishing projects, with an all-round investment. Particularly, the government stresses that project initiators should be progressed from colleges and universities, scientific research institutions to enterprises as the main force, which has promoted independent innovation and technological upgrading of enterprise products.
• Chinese manufacturing industries of all kinds are adopting laser processing technology, and this would enable them to increase the technological content of their products, speed up product upgrading, reach to a "agile manufacturing" level and meet the requirement of the market for "personalized" products.
• In China, laser industry clusters have been gradually formed. Enterprises of laser spares and parts are catching up step by step, and various types of laser processing system manufacturers with own product features are being established one after another. Four industrial belts for manufacturing laser processing equipment have been formed, mainly located in Central China; Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and Beijing & Tianjin & Circum-Bohai Sea economically developed region.
• Some of the internationally renowned Laser Cutter Machine processing manufacturers have invested and set up factories in China and some have set up joint ventures in China. As a general trend, they enter into Chinese market successively and establishing localized international competition in China.
• Chinese main-force lasers are gradually qualified and applied to the market. For example, high-power axial flow CO2 lasers, metal chamber RF CO2 lasers with small and medium power, LD-pumped all-solid-state lasers, fiber lasers, frequency-doubled DPL lasers, high-power diode modules and so on. These products are poised to enter initial stages of production and then step into market, creating conditions for upgrade and leading new applications for domestic laser processing.