China sets out the be the best at a lot of things. In tech, it’s been a hit and miss process.
From chip technology to operating systems, the country can’t move fast enough in its bid to bring innovation home and send their products global. It’s been a rough ride though. Both the hardware and software industries have been pigeonholed as copycats of their foreign counterparts. On top of that, the country’s internet giants have put their foot down in virtually every tech vertical available, suffocating areas of the ecosystem for new players.
For drone company DJI however, they’ve achieved the one thing that most China tech can only dream of at this point. They are the quality leader in their field, not just for China, but the world.
Last week at Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in China, we saw the newly released Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 quadcopter models up close. By far one of the most popular exhibits on the exhibition floor, the drone demos attracted a sizable crowd of onlookers.
CEO Frank Wang is a self-confessed fan of Steve Job’s leadership, saying in the past that he styles his ‘aggressive’ management strategy on the late icon’s reputation. In an interview with the WSJ last year, he noted that “Chinese companies now are getting better; before, they lagged behind… more Chinese companies will go global and their image will gradually change.”
Image could well be another Jobs-inspired feature of DJI, with the latest DJI drones taking on an eerily similar minimalist white in their branding approach. In fact, the entire company seems distinctly foreign compared to its local counterparts, which could explain the company’s global success.
Despite their growth overseas, DJI is still yet to match the market share stats back home, but it’s high on the Shenzhen-based company’s agenda. This Wednesday, they formally launched a marketing and publishing partnership with Chinese streaming service Youku Tudou.
“This new partnership with DJI fits perfectly into Youku Tudou’s rapid advancement of its multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem,” said Jerry Li, Youku Tudou’s Senior VP. Li also mentioned that part of their strategy would involve “building communities” using the new platform. The hope is that the partnership will give DJI a home-base in video publishing and marketing, with a view to engage consumers in its own territory.
As their quad copters continue to top reviews word wide, DJI form an interesting case study as global leaders in their field. The country continues to pour literal billions into kickstarting local innovation, and it’s likely we’ll see more of this new breed of globally-dominant Chinese technology companies.
Images: Onlookers at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GWIC) held last week in Beijing. DJI showcased the Inspire 1 professional quadcopter and its high-end consumer drone the Phantom 3.
Group photo from the DJI/Youku Tudou partnership launch last Wednesday.