Shenzhen’s 1,730 drone firms recorded US$13b in 2023 revenue, up 28% YoY

According to an estimate by Shenzhen's drone industry association, the UAV market in China is forecast to reach 160 billion yuan in 2024.

Shenzhen had 1,730 drone companies as of 2023, generating an annual revenue of 96 billion yuan (US$13.39 billion), up 28% year on year and more than half of the nation’s total, according to a top industry conference.

At the 9th Drone Hundred-Member Summit, held on January 7 in Shenzhen, speakers told the audience that the city had run 126 flight paths and 89 vertiports for drones by the end of last year.

Altogether the city’s aviation authorities logged over 600,000 drone flights during the same period.

According to an estimate by Shenzhen’s drone industry association, the UAV market in China is forecast to reach 160 billion yuan in 2024.

A breakdown of this figure suggests that the domestic delivery and logistics drone segment is projected to be valued at 30 billion yuan.

Image credit: Unsplash

Business registry information indicates that some 17,000 companies contributed 152 billion yuan in 2023 nationwide, representing an increase of 27.5% over a year earlier.

Drones that were registered on a real-name basis totaled 1.11 million, 15.9% higher than in 2022.

Shenzhen, with a reputation as a drone hub, has been leading the nation in application of drone technologies, in a wide range of areas.

They can be found in Smart City, logistics, emergency rescue, aerial survey and environmental protection, among other use cases.

The southern boomtown, often likened to the Silicon Valley of China, is home to around 1,500 drone-related industrial chain firms, counting amongst them big names like DJI (大疆科技), Phoenix Wings (丰翼无人机), Meituan UAS (美团无人机) and helicopter service providers such as CITIC COHC (中信海直) and Heli-Eastern (东部通航).

Image credit: Unsplash

Shenzhen is now gearing up to upgrade its infrastructure for the so-called “low airspace economy,” including the construction of a Smart Integrated Lower Airspace System.

This system will coordinate the operation of different types of aircraft in the city’s skies.

According to a blueprint issued by the city government, Shenzhen will run upwards of 600 vertiports for low-airspace aircraft like drones and 220 intra-city drone flight routes by 2025.

What’s more, it will see the number of drone-related firms climb to 1,700, garnering an annual output of 100 billion yuan, says the blueprint.

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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, Trip.com 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 nitao0927@gmail.com.

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