Chinese Drone Makers Soaring High with Heavy VC Investments

The consumer drone market in China is growing and companies like Yuneec, Ehang, DJI, and Aheadx have scooped up significant venture capital funding. As per a CB Insights report, drone companies have managed to raise $172 million in May 2015, more than the last 3 years combined. Here is a quick roundup of startups who have recently raised funding, and at the same time will have to focus on honing UAVs (commonly knows as a drone) and software for business users.


US technology company Intel has invested $60 million series B funding in Shanghai-based Yuneec, that makes a range of drones built for aerial photography and imaging. Both, Intel and Yuneec plan to collaborate on projects, but it is still undisclosed what they are going to develop. This is the third startup in which Intel has made investment. The other two include Airware, which makes commercial drone software, and PrecisionHawk, a sensor hardware maker and data analysis platform.

Here is a video in which Yuneec’s Founder Tian Yu talks about his company’s drones.


Ehang, which had launched a mobile-app-controlled camera drone branded “Ghost” for consumer and industrial users, has raised $42 million in series B round led by GP Capital. The round also included investment from GGV Capital, ZhenFund, Lebox Capital, OFC and PreAngel. The startup will use these new funds to accelerate its tech and business development, increase the team size, and “build a UAV ecosystem” based on its apps. The company which has thus far been mostly focused on the consumer space, plans to explore industries like logistics, agriculture, and mapping, and also looks to push into commercial applications.

The following video shows how Ghost takes off.


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Aheadx, a Beijing-based consumer drone manufacturing startup which was founded in 2014, has raised a seed round of $2 million from Shenzhen- and Beijing-based VC firm AV Capital. The latest model is called the TransDrone A4 which is named after its ability to fold up into something the size of an A4 piece of paper. The company is currently taking pre-orders for its drone via’s crowdfunding platform. For the duration of its crowdfunding campaign, which will come to a close next month, the TransDrone A4 is available for just $434 or $482 with a camera included.

The  video shows the structure of TransDrone A4.


The company, DJI which makes the Phantom series of consumer drone, has raised $75 million from Accel Partners at a valuation of $10 billion. The funds will be used for the ongoing initiatives to accelerate global adoption of DJI’s products, and to extend DJI’s reach into new industrial applications. DJI drones start at $859 and widely used by photographers and filmmakers, but also within specific industries like agriculture, energy, and security. Watch DJI’s video for its Phantom 3 model below:

It can be expected that more such companies would come up as the use cases for drone technology arises. Amazon is one of the known companies which brought this technology into limelight by announcing its plans for delivering orders through drones. Let’s see if this indeed becomes a trend.