China’s drone invasionDJI, the China-based world’s largest drone manufacturer, announced that it opened a spacious drone arena in a warehouse in Yongin, Gyeonggi, the first of its kind in Korea and Asia. The case underscores how China has taken the lead over Korean industry and markets. The company’s foray was predictable, as it chose the popular youthful university neighborhood of Hongdae in March to open its second flagship store after Shenzhen in China.
Its next step was the largest-ever indoor drone arena where novices and amateurs as well as professionals can learn about, test and fly their vehicles without fretting about weather or security restrictions. The company said it chose Korea as the test bed for its business as consumers for drones are diverse across ages and savvy in technology.
Drones are one of the promising and game-changing technologies for the age of automation from the fourth industrial revolution, along with virtual reality, the Internet of Things and smart vehicles. While Korea is hardly at the crawling stage, China has already made headway and is flying in the field.
Korea has been utterly defeated in the future growth field because of myriad regulations. The government hampers commercial development of drones because of security concerns. Flying toy drones is banned in most of northern Seoul and some areas in southern Seoul. Until the government revised the act last month, commercial activities through use of drones were also prohibited.
While local industry has been stifled by regulations, drone businesses and applications have been flourishing elsewhere. Google has received a go-ahead from U.S. authorities to test drone-based delivery services and IBM is preparing to service real-time weather data from drone operations. British and Japanese companies also completed testing of drone flights for deliveries and drones have been made a state strategic project of New Zealand.
Lack of passion from Korean industry is also to be blamed. How can it complain about regulations when a Chinese maker opened an indoor arena on its home turf? It must stop whining and instead venture.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug.18, Page 30
China’s drone invasion