Drone maker says in­dus­try should not let one chip com­pany con­trol the mar­ket

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LUHAOTING and GAO YUAN

The fast-grow­ing con­sumer drone in­dus­try should not copy the model of per­sonal com­puter and smart­phone busi­nesses where one chip com­pany con­trols nearly the whole mar­ket, said a se­nior of­fi­cial from DJI Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd.

“If only one com­pany con­trols nearly the whole mar­ket with ex­ces­sively high roy­alty pay­ments, it will harm tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion of the whole in­dus­try,” Shao Jian­huo, vice-pres­i­dent of DJI, told China Daily.

Shao’s com­ments came as chip­mak­ers In­tel Corp and Qual­comm Inc are both ex­pand­ing into drones to di­ver­sify away from their re­spec­tive core mar­kets of PC and smart­phone chips.

In­tel, the world’s largest PC chip­maker, poured $60 mil­lion into the Hong Kong­based drone maker Yuneec In­ter­na­tional Co last year. Qual­comm, the No 1 mo­bile chip­maker world­wide, is devel­op­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of power-ef­fi­ciency pro­ces­sors used in drones and self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles.

Sales of com­mer­cial drones in China are set to near 4 bil­lion yuan ($626 mil­lion) this year, a 70 per­cent growth com­pared with a year ear­lier, said research firm Analysys In­ter­na­tional. The de­mand will break 11 bil­lion yuan by 2018, it said.

Ren Ruichao, an an­a­lyst from iRe­search Con­sult­ing Group, said al­though Chi­nese avi­a­tion watch­dogs are yet to im­ple­ment clear reg­u­la­tions on the use of civil­ian drones, the de­mand will in­crease any­way.

When asked whether DJI, which con­trols 70 per­cent of the world’s civil­ian drone mar­ket, would de­velop its own chips for drones, Shao said: “We will keep a close eye on chip tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment and co­op­er­ate with var­i­ous chip com­pa­nies.”

Shao said DJI has no plans for public list­ing for the time be­ing and prod­uct devel­op­ment is the top pri­or­ity.

Shao said a re­cent Bloomberg re­port that DJI would share all data of its drones with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, which raised pri­vacy con­cerns over­seas as 80 per­cent of DJI’s drones are for ex­ports, is not ac­cu­rate.

“It is re­quired by avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tory de­part­ments in China, the US or any­where in the world that aerial ve­hi­cles must re­port its flight records, such as lo­ca­tion, al­ti­tude and speed, for safety con­cerns. But it is up to cus­tomers to de­cide whether to share their pic­tures and video shots publicly. We will not store any pri­vate in­for­ma­tion,” Shao said.

DJI’s sales ex­ceeded $500 mil­lion in 2014, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

Con­tact the writ­ers at luhaoting@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Unit: mil­lion dead­weight tons Source: China As­so­ci­a­tion of the Na­tional Ship­build­ing In­dus­try Unit: mil­lion dead­weight tons Unit: mil­lion dead­weight tons LIU LU­NAN / CHINA DAILY

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