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What 3-D Printing Could Mean for the World's Factory -- China

Visitors look at products made by 3-D printers displayed in the Stratasys Ltd. both at the 3D & Virtual Reality Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, on June 21, 2013. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Visitors look at products made by 3-D printers displayed in the Stratasys Ltd. both at the 3D & Virtual Reality Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, on June 21, 2013. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

It's easy to get caught up in the buzz around 3-D printing. It allows everyone from hobbyists to aerospace engineers to create customized products -- toys, prosthetics , even jet engine parts -- from the convenience of their home or office.

And while "disruption" is an overused word in the tech world, it's hard not to wonder how 3-D printing might affect global manufacturing and the country in the middle of it all: China.