The $ 8 billion Chinese drone maker …
DJI: three letters that do not really speak to French entrepreneurs but which nevertheless have something to hold the attention of those who are closely interested in innovation. This is the name of a Chinese drone maker. He has just raised $ 75 million from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital funds. According to sources familiar with the matter cited by the Wall Street Journal, this brings its valuation to… 8 billion dollars. Discussions are underway to continue raising funds, which could bring this valuation to $ 10 billion. Contacted, a spokesperson for DJI specifies: “Unfortunately, we are not able to officially confirm the amount of the valuation” but specifies that “the 75 million dollars raised will be used to accelerate the global adoption of DJI’s products. », And extend the reach of the company in the industrial applications of its drones.
At the same time the Parisian company Parrot – half of whose business volume comes from the sale of drones – is valued at 289.70 million euros.
Made in china
This Chinese company of 2,800 employees, founded in 2006, does not design and market just any type of drones: they are specific flying objects for photography and videography from the air.
“This is THE company that we believe will become the leader in this category,” said Sameer Gandhi, who led this investment for Accel Partners.
The head office is located in Shenzhen, in the “workshop of the world” that is the Chinese province of Guangdong. Its flagship product? It is the Phantom, a drone weighing less than 4 kilos that allows you to capture images in high definition. DJI markets drones priced between 3,000 yuan and 17,999 yuan (ie between 425 euros and 2,551 euros).
More revenue in the United States than in China
Founder and CEO Frank Wang expects business volume to double in 2015. It stood at $ 100 million in 2013. At the moment, it sells most of its products in line and plans to open a physical point of sale in Shenzhen and then in other cities of the Middle Empire, such as the reported Bloomberg in February.
Frank Wang is introduced to the political authorities. He ensures that he is working with the Chinese and American governments on the legal framework for the use of drones. DJI has offices in Los Angeles. The company achieves 30% of its sales in the US market, compared to 20% in the Chinese market.
“Our goal is to manufacture products that can take precedence over the ‘made in China’ label,” said the founder of the company recently.
A global drone market estimated at 6.4 billion dollars
The global drone market weighs $ 6.4 billion to date and is expected to reach $ 12 billion in 2025, estimated the firm Teal Group in July latest. If DJI has something to impress with the speed of its growth, other companies are also positioning themselves in the drone market, whether civilian or military: the American General Atomics, the Korean Northrop Grumman, the South African Denel Dynamics, Israel Aerospace Industries but also large groups that test themselves on drones like Lockheed Martin Corporation or Boeing. In France, in addition to Parrot, we have to reckon with the Grenoblois Delta Drone (which went public in 2013), the Toulousain Delair Tech, the Girondin Fly-n-Sense, Cyleone, Airinov, Redbird…
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