Crowded skies

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-19 10:52

Crowded skies

According to the South Metropolitan Daily, those caught flying their drones within the clearance areas of airports may be fined between 20,000 and 100,000 yuan.

A burgeoning market

In its report published last May, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated the global market for commercial applications of drone technology will balloon from the current $2 billion to as much as $127 billion by 2020.

Zhang estimated that there are nearly 500,000 drones enthusiasts across China, with about 10,000 of them in Shanghai.

Zhu said he first became interested in drones in 2014. He now takes the device wherever he goes, be it on business trips or family holidays.

Wu Zhihong, a self-confessed hardcore drone lover who is a photographer and reporter with China Metallurgical News, said he first bought a drone in 2013. He now has around 10 of these unmanned aerial devices that he has flown in various parts of the country.

"My drones have flown more than 2.8 million kilometers, taking more than 10,000 photos from every corner of China. I will soon start my overseas adventures with my drones in Pakistan, Kenya, Vietnam and Indonesia," said the 47-year-old.

Wu Zhihong and Xiao Xiao, both of whom use their drones for photography, said that most enthusiasts they know are self-disciplined and would not fly their drones in restricted areas or altitudes.

"We frequently share our experiences and help one another solve problems. We also lend a helping hand to amateur drone operators from time to time," Wu said.

Flying the Chinese flag in the US

Although there are a variety of drone brands worldwide, DJI commands more than 70 percent share of the global consumer market, according to Ky. Presently, there are more than 1 million unmanned DJI aerial vehicles in use around the world.

Buoyed by the growing demand for drones, DJI's revenue expanded 100 fold between 2011 and 2015, while its average annual growth rate grew three to five times, said the company's vice-president Xu Huabin.

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