Finance & Economics

China Allocates $70 Billion to Low-Altitude Economy

The Chinese authorities have decided to scale up the process of using unmanned and other aircraft, which has caused a sharp increase in enthusiasm about the prospects for realizing the significant potential of relevant technologies that are necessary to stimulate and revitalize the low-altitude economy, which is already at a high level of development in the Asian country.

China Allocates $70 Billion to Low-Altitude Economy

Sun Wensheng, Deputy Director of the Department of General Affairs at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), announced Beijing’s intention to continuously improve low-altitude flight support services. In this case, such areas of activity as approval of plans, air traffic management, communications and surveillance, and meteorological services are meant.

The mentioned regulator of the Asian country also intends to improve the certification system for the airworthiness of unmanned aerial vehicles. At a press conference held late last week, Sun Wensheng said that appropriate efforts are needed to accelerate the development of the low-altitude economy. The importance of policy coordination in this sector was highlighted separately.

It is worth noting that China has repeatedly declared its intentions to develop a low-altitude economy. Beijing has also taken measures aimed at achieving the corresponding goal, in a practical plane. The Chinese authorities perceive the low-altitude economy as a strategically important sphere. The corresponding position of Beijing was officially stated at the tone-setting central economic work conference, which was held in December last year. At that time, it was also noted that the specified promising area of activity is at the stage of high-intensity development.

Low altitude economy is a term that includes a wide range of sectors of the Chinese industrial system, the functioning of which is associated with the active use of vehicles. In this case, manned and unmanned developments are meant. It is worth clarifying that the economy of low altitudes concerns only aircraft. As a rule, these developments operate at an altitude below 1000 meters.

The report, which was published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China last Monday, April 1, notes that in 2023, the financial volume of the low-altitude economy amounted to 506 billion yuan ($70 billion). This indicator showed an increase of 33.8% compared to the result for 2022. The financial volume of the low-altitude economy is also expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2026. In this case, only China’s indicators are meant.

The nine-page guideline for general aviation, published by the mentioned ministry and other agencies, notes that the Chinese authorities plan to start supplying and implementing innovative solutions in the sphere of the specified type of aviation equipment with commercial use in areas such as urban air transport, logistics, and emergency rescue operations by 2027. Also, the mentioned guidance outlined Beijing’s intentions to establish a new model for the development of general aviation by the end of the current decade. In the context of this plan, special attention will be paid to high-end, intellectual, and green features.

Beijing intends to fully integrate general aviation equipment into production and everyday life. The successful implementation of these efforts is expected to become a powerful driving force for economic growth.

The existing products in the general aviation equipment area are currently being scaled up. In this case, an extension of the spheres of use is implied. The mentioned products category includes many developments, including manned airships to electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The civilian manned airship AS700 made its first transfer flight at the end of last week. The relevant information is contained in the official account of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, which developed this airship, on social networks. The first deliveries of the AS700 are expected to begin by the end of 2024. The airship will be used in the tourism area. At the same time, the mentioned corporation intends to expand the sphere by applying AS700. Experts suggest that their development can be used in emergency rescue and public services.

EVT Aerotechnics, the developer of eVTOL, announced late last week that its ET9 aircraft had made its first flight. Representatives of this firm stated that the mentioned device can be used in various spheres of activity, including high-frequency cargo transportation, tourism, urban air travel, and emergency rescue operations.

The above-mentioned report by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China notes that the volume of eVTOL production in the Asian country in financial terms last year amounted to 980 million yuan. This indicator is 77.3% higher than the figure for 2022. eVTOL production in China is expected to reach 9.5 billion yuan by 2026.

Last year, in China, the share of civilian drones in the market increased by 32%, amounting to 117.43 billion yuan in financial terms. The sales volume of industrial unmanned aerial vehicles in 2023 was fixed at 76.78 billion yuan. The sphere of use of multi-purpose vehicles has expanded and now includes energy inspection, emergency support, and protection of agriculture and forestry.

In China, civilian drones have become a kind of pioneer in industrial application. This was stated by Luo Hongjiang, a representative of the civil aviation regulator, at a briefing at the end of last week. In this case, the active use of civilian drones in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, animal husbandry, and aerial photography was noted.

The logistics services that are provided to consumers as part of the application of unmanned aerial vehicles extend to urban commercial areas and communities in China. The airworthiness certification process of eVTOL aircraft in the Asian country is on a trajectory of steady improvement. Luo Hongjiang made a corresponding statement, also noting that the prospects for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in China are positive.

As we have reported earlier, Experts Say About Significant Economic Potential of China’s Tech Sector.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.