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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Drone king turns to farming for new growth
    2017-June-27  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

SHENZHEN-BASED drone maker DJI is betting on flying machines that shoot pesticide instead of photos to fend off growing competition in the global remote-controlled aircraft market.

The global leader in the civilian drones sector is switching its focus from leisure photography to more professional uses for its unmanned aerial vehicles, and it sees agriculture as the future for the burgeoning industry.

DJI’s campus lies within the Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park, where visitors are treated to a showroom featuring an array of drones.

Half the space of the showroom is dedicated to recreational machines like the Phantom series, while the other half shows off “enterprise” drones for agriculture, public safety, professional photography or film-making.

Propelled by rotors, the tiny crop dusting aircraft can carry a liquid payload of 15 kilograms to spray fields.

Piloted from a distance, one drone can cover the same surface as around 30 people and it does the job more efficiently, said Jiang Sanchun, manager of a small company that operates pesticide drones for farmers in northern China.

“Within five years, we went from drones that only took photos to machines specialized in first aid or agriculture,” DJI vice president Paul Xu said.

DJI was founded in 2006 in an apartment in Shenzhen by Frank Wang, a young graduate with a passion for model planes.

The company now makes almost two-thirds of the world’s civilian drones, according to an estimate by Frost & Sullivan, a market research company. Its overall revenues reached US$1.5 billion last year.

Xu said that DJI “created a new market” in 2013 when it launched its Phantom drone with high-definition cameras.

Some 75 percent of its drones are sold abroad, mostly in the United States and Europe, and they are popular among people flying the crafts for fun or to take aerial photos.

With competition on the rise, DJI is looking for new markets.

In late 2015, it launched Agras MG-1, an octocopter, or eight-rotor drone, which can carry pesticide or fertilizer.

“A drone can monitor energy networks in hard to reach areas or support public security missions,” Xu said.

“DJI is entering these enterprise markets because that is where their customer base takes them,” said Susan Eustis, president of U.S.-based firm WinterGreen Research.

Worldwide drone sales soared by 60 percent last year, according to the Gartner consulting company. Sales are expected to reach US$6 billion this year and nearly double to 11.2 billion by 2020.

Drones for commercial uses represent 6 percent of the market, but a whopping 60 percent of revenue.

“We do see the DJI market domination as likely to continue for the next five years with no serious challengers,” Eustis said, noting that the company has the ability to roll out new products within months.(SD-Agencies)

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