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Student startups set to surge as 'digital natives' drive innovation

By Zou Shuo| China Daily| Updated: May 25, 2023 L M S


Chen Tianrun (front left), founder and CEO of KOKONI 3D, a maker of 3D printers, introduces his company's product to clients. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Making an impression

Like Wang, many of the participants in the innovation and entrepreneurship competition were born in 2000 or after.

Chen Tianrun is the founder and CEO of KOKONI 3D, which makes 3D printers in Zhejiang.

"I noticed that young people today are looking for ways to tap into their passion for the fascinating and the mundane. Driven by this magical pull, I took it upon myself to dive headfirst into the world of 3D printing: It's a fusion of technology and creativity that never fails to inspire awe and wonder," the 23-year-old said.

In 2020, Chen started his endeavors in his dormitory at Zhejiang University with two roommates. They turned their dorm into a workshop and each studied different topics. After many sleepless nights and countless experiments, they succeeded in developing a prototype 3D printer on the empty bed they used as their workstation.

When a customer scans a photo into the printer, a 3D physical model can be printed out.

Chen founded the company in Huzhou, Zhejiang, in 2021. In March last year, it started mass production of what the team said is the first printer of its type to incorporate instant artificial intelligence 3D modeling.

The device is sold in more than 30 countries and regions, and so far it has generated tens of millions of yuan in income.

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