Low-altitude economy to become new growth engine in China

2024-03-18 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- The Chinese government has listed the low-altitude economy in its work report for 2024, giving wings to businesses involved in this sector, which is expected to become a new engine for economic growth.

Major low-altitude hardware includes small fixed-wing planes, helicopters and drones. The size of China's low-altitude economy as of the end of last year was estimated at more than 500 billion yuan ($70 billion), with its scale expected to reach 2 trillion yuan by 2030, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Despite being in its early stage of development, the low-altitude economy is already reshaping the lives of people. Presently, it finds applications across various sectors including industry, agriculture, and services. For instance, "low-altitude + logistics" stands out as the most promisingly scalable scenario in commercial applications.

Compared to traditional logistics, drone delivery offers higher efficiency and convenience, while also cutting down on labor costs. Similarly, "low-altitude + tourism" has the potential to enhance tourist experiences.

Many Chinese enterprises have seized the business opportunities. DJI drones are widely used for aerial photography, and Meituan has launched drone delivery services in some cities. Chinese car manufacturers such as Xpeng, Geely, and GAC have unveiled multiple flying car products.

He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of Xpeng said that the rapid development of the new energy vehicle industry has brought about innovations in electrification and intelligence, which are now being cross-applied in the low-altitude economy.

He hopes that building upon new energy technology transformation could leverage automotive scale supply chain logic to introduce flying cars priced in the million-yuan range.

There is still significant room for top-level design and infrastructure construction in China’s low-altitude economy.

Han Jun, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, revealed that in the future, China will promote the construction of general airports and temporary landing points, improve the low-altitude flight service support system, optimize airworthiness standards, certification modes, and technologies for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, and enhance airworthiness certification capabilities.

The comprehensive management platform for civil unmanned aerial vehicles will also be improved, and several demonstration zones for the development of low-altitude economy will be established based on civilian unmanned aerial vehicle experimental zones or bases, according to Han.

CEO of Xpeng predicts that the low-altitude economy is expected to reach 20 percent of the automotive market size in the future, indicating significant potential for growth.


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