from Want China Times
Commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is an emerging line of business in China, set to be worth billions of yuan within a few years as more companies show interest in entering the market, with a Shenzhen-based UAV company having posted explosive growth since its establishment in 2006, Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Review reports.
The United States and Israel pioneered the use of UAVs, commonly known as drones, making them a key military asset. The market for commercial drones has grown rapidly as their applications evolve from military to civilian use.
US e-commerce giant Amazon has used unmanned drones for the delivery of products to reduce logistics costs, for example. Today drones have a multitude of functions in the civilian world from cinematography to agriculture, able to film overhead shots and monitor the health of farm crops. They are also used for security and detection of geological features.
Unmanned drones are able to transmit data to ground personnel or a server through wireless transmissions.
According to the report, an international UAV company called Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) Science and Technology Company made its debut in 2006 in Shenzhen in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Frank Wang Tao, the founder of DJI, said the company’s annual sales have surpassed a billion yuan (US$163 million). Over the past three years, the company’s revenue has jumped 79 times, while sales grew 150-fold, making it the most rapidly growing UAV company in the world.
DJI is the global leader in UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) designed specifically for photo and video applications. Swedish video website Travelbydrone said that 75% of its videos are made using drones from DJI.
DJI’s latest Phantom quadcopter model sells for only about 7,000 yuan (US$1,137), relatively low when compared with the tens of thousands of yuan spent to rent an unmanned helicopter for aerial video and photography several years ago.
Some companies in the Pearl River Delta region have also sought to tap into the UAV market, with several having built their own brands by providing aerial surveillance data and express delivery services.
Sequoia Capital, a US venture capital firm, and an investment firm affiliated with Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s business conglomerate reportedly considered investing in DJI, according to the report.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com