Manufacturing News

Drone-maker DJI to develop more industry applications

Shenzhen-based DJI is looking to develop more industrial applications even as it continues to consolidate its lead in the consumer drone market, a top executive said on Friday.

"In 2018, we are going to put more efforts and resources into the promotion of industrial applications," said Zhang Xiaonan, strategic director of DJI, during the release of its new Mavic Air drones in China.

To be more specific, DJI is looking to apply its drone technology into more areas and industries, as well as expand partnerships with customers and third-party developers. The goal is to ensure that DJI's technology and products bring more joy and value, said Zhang.

A series of unauthorized drone flights last year had led to tighter usage regulations and impacted product sales. Though DJI did feel the impact of slower sales, it still had the largest market share in the global consumer drone market, according to a report in Caixin magazine, citing unnamed DJI sources.

DJI reported 18 billion yuan ($2.83 billion) revenue in 2017, up 80 percent from the figure in 2016, but the achievement was eclipsed by the 300 percent growth in 2014 and 100 percent in 2015.

China Air Transport Association has issued a report on China's civilian drone's development for the year between 2017 and 2018, noting that after three years of high speed growth, the nation's consumer drone sector is slowing its growth pace temporarily.

Another report from market research and consulting firm iResearch indicated that China's drone market value will reach 75 billion yuan by 2025, and the market demand will mainly come from aerial photography (30 billion yuan), agriculture, forestry, plant protection (20 billion yuan), security (15 billion), and electric power inspection (5 billion yuan).

Compared to the stabilizing consumer drones market, industrial application and development will offer new growth opportunities, said Xie Tiandi, DJI's director of communications.

Meanwhile, DJI showcased its new mini drone product Mavic Air in Shanghai on Thursday, two days after its debut in New York. Company executives said DJI will open more flagship stores, authorized experience stores and retail locations in 2018.

The 430-gram portable Mavic Air is 41 percent lighter than and only half the size of its most popular drone Mavic Pro, which was released in 2016 and is so far the world's most used and bestselling drone.

Currently, DJI claims that nearly 80 percent of its sales comes from the overseas market, but China is its fastest growing market.

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