Qatar holds promise in the futuristic 3D printing, a sector where Doha is actively seeking foreign direct investment (FDI) in view of its infrastructure and construction industry, valued at $26bn this year, according to Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (Invest Qatar).
"Aided by a macroeconomic environment infused with strong fundamentals, Qatar provides lucrative opportunities for 3D printing-related businesses, particularly in sectors such as aerospace, infrastructure, and healthcare," it said in a report.
Technological collaborations with institutions like Texas A&M in Qatar, Sidra Medicine, Qatar University, and the like strengthen the market potential for players who wish to invest with the help of state support and national programmes, it said.
Elaborating on the potential for 3D in aerospace; the report said Qatar Airways, which has the third largest fleet in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) with $82bn worth of orders until 2029, has installed a 3D printed curtain comfort header on its Airbus in 2019.
On the prospects of 3D in healthcare, Invest Qatar highlighted that Sidra Medicine’s state-of-the-art 3D printing technology helped it to create a model for pre-surgical planning for the first conjoined twins' surgery in Qatar.
In line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, advanced and sustainable infrastructure is being built, it said, adding Qatar University tested 3D-printed models of football stadiums that Qatar built for the 2022 World Cup to test their cooling mechanisms.
Poised to reach a global market value of $30.4bn by 2028, the additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing, which is taking up a growing role in various industries from prototyping to production, has "incredibly dynamic and integrated" value chain.
Highlighting that several accelerator programmes lend a helping hand to aspiring entrepreneurs and investors; Invest Qatar said the Technology Development Fund (TDF) provides gap funding for early-stage and promising technologies, while the Digital Incubation Centre (DIC) boosts ICT (information, communication and technology) innovation, particularly among young people at the critical stages of growing a tech enterprise.
"In its pursuit of economic growth with human and natural resources, Qatar captures the innovative spirit of 3D technologies, which – once adopted – can free up time and space to rethink an organisation’s business model and find additional sources of competitive advantage," the report said.
Qatar is a global contender among FDI destinations, including in the 3D printing industry. It offers up to 100% foreign ownership in all sectors, unrivalled in the GCC or Gulf Co-operation Council region, and boasts efficient legislation to protect intellectual property (IP) and industrial designs to eliminate cross-border regulation issues, according to Invest Qatar.
"The Middle East is a frontrunner in the adoption of AM (additive manufacturing) capabilities. In Qatar, foreign investors can access a flourishing 3D printing industry, backed by robust state support and national programmes that have earned the country an estimated market share of over $100mn in the Middle East and North Africa region,” it said.
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