3 countries make 87% of all lasers. Wow!

By Tom Hausken
Bet you didn't know this: about 87% of all laser revenues attribute to companies headquartered in only three countries: the U.S., Japan, and Germany. Wow! Who'd have guessed?

Don't believe me? Consider that about 1/2 of all laser revenues are for diode lasers for communications and optical storage. These are mostly made by Japanese companies, some U.S., some Taiwan, and a few others.

Then, consider that several big laser makers hail from Germany and Japan: TRUMPF, Rofin-Sinar, FANUC, Gigaphoton, and Mitsubishi. Germany is also home to many smaller laser makers, like Jenoptik, Toptica, and (despite the name) Menlo Systems. The U.S. is the official home to many familiar names: Coherent, GSI (including Synrad, Quantronix, and Continuum), Newport, IPG, Cymer, JDS Uniphase, Oclaro, and many, many smaller companies.


I'm counting revenues here, not units. A lot of commodity lasers are made in Taiwan, or even China, for laser pointers and such things. Oh, and of course, I'm talking just the laser, not the system or end-use.

True, the assembly may be anywhere from Russia to China, but the companies are headquartered in only a few countries. This means that at least a large part of the revenues (including the profits) flow back through headquarters. (More on that in a later post.) Oh, and of course I'm talking just the laser, not the system or end-use.

For the record, this all came about from a question I got from Breck Hitz, the Executive Director of the Lasers and Electro-Optics Manufacturers Association, LEOMA , who is trying to advance laser standards at the ISO.
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