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China will play key role in reforming drone regulations, says GlobalData

The popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones has grown significantly in the recent past. They have moved beyond military applications and have become more widely used by both consumers and enterprises. Against this backdrop, Chinese firms are rapidly investing in technologies, including surveillance, that will drive the regulatory reforms for drone applications in commercial airspaces, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.


GlobalData’s latest report, “Drones – Thematic Research,” reveals that recognizing the increasing importance of the integration with air traffic control systems, Chinese firms are supporting automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), in which aircraft broadcast their position on a standard frequency. DJI has rapidly adapted to the evolving regulatory norms and introduced the DJI AirSense on Matrice 200. This willingness to be a first mover has enabled the company to gain approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to perform Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) services for professional drone pilots in controlled airspace around US airports.


China has quickly developed superior drones for enterprise applications and the CH-5 military drone, which has been compared to the US Reaper and Israeli Heron TP, the most advanced strike-capable military drones currently in service worldwide.


Pinky Hiranandani, Principal Analyst in the Thematic Intelligence team at GlobalData, comments: “Taking advantage of the increasing demand for drones among militaries worldwide and the US legal restriction on foreign sales of armed drones under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), China has successfully tapped into a fast-growing market.


“Chinese drones are significantly less expensive than their US and Israeli counterparts and offer flexible payment options, enabling China to expand in countries with limited military budgets.”


According to GlobalData, Chinese manufacturers account for approximately 70% of the global drones market with major Chinese firms like DJI, Yuneec, and Autel Robotics dominating the global civilian (commercial and consumer) drones segment.


Hiranandani concludes: “These companies benefit from China’s low-cost manufacturing base and have established a strong price-to-performance advantage over their Western competitors. Moreover, as commercial demand for drones grows, leading Chinese players are developing their ability to sell into and provide services and support for international markets.”

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