Chengdu spending big on drive to become ‘capital of industrial UAV’ in China

To consolidate its domination in this field, the city's hi-tech industrial development zone decided to subsidize companies in landing airworthiness certificates for fixed-wing drone, tiltrotor aircraft and unmanned helicopter.

The southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu is doling out financial largesse to locally registered industrial UAV and aerospace companies, in a bid to shore up its aviation industry.

The city’s hi-tech industrial development zone published a raft of documents on September 27, outlining several measures aimed at promoting UAV, aero-engine and satellite internet, among other sectors.

Authorities are seeking public input until October 29, 2023.

Chengdu is already home to a number of established industrial UAV companies, such as Tengden (腾盾科创) and JOUAV Unmanned Aircraft System (纵横股份).

To consolidate its domination in this field, the city’s hi-tech industrial development zone decided to subsidize companies in landing airworthiness certificates for fixed-wing drone, tiltrotor aircraft and unmanned helicopter.

Wing Loong-1, developed by AVIC UAS

Handsome subsidies

Eligible companies can apply to have 50% of the related expenses — up to 50 million yuan each — subsidized by the development zone.

Local authorities also pledged to subsidize 10% of the costs resulting from test flight of drones, with a ceiling of 5 million yuan for a single business.

UAV firms are even showered with financial support for closing sales. Each company is entitled to a 10% cash reward from the government based on their contract value, with an upper limit of 10 million yuan for each candidate.

Aside from industrial drone makers, Chengdu has rolled out incentives to stimulate the growth of drone-related services.

For instance, authorities called for service providers to deploy drone fleets to aerial filming, mapping, police patrol, electricity inspection, emergency management, geological survey, logistics, cloud seeding and smart city management.

CW-007 drone from JOUAV

Companies who record over 3 million yuan in annual service income are eligible for a stipend of between 10% of their actual revenue and up to 3 million yuan.

Air mobility services

Notably, Chengdu also spurred industrial drone developers to apply their technologies in air mobility services, a frontier in the utilization of drones.

The city vowed to issue a 20% subsidy to companies that are actually involved in operating “air taxi” services, with the sums capped at 10 million yuan for each per year.

On top of all this financial support, Chengdu also promises to hand out up to 2-5 million yuan to businesses that establish innovation labs on their own or choose to partner with colleges in doing so.

The city has put other measures in place, as part of its ambitious drive to become the “No. 1 city of industrial UAV” within China.

Besides industrial drone, it also made jaw-dropping commitment to subsidize the R&D spending of aero-engine manufacturers, by up to a whopping 200 million yuan.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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