Shanghai has formed a RMB 500 million ($70 million) fund to boost its drone industry and lure drone makers to the city with subsidies and preferential policies.

Why it matters: Shanghai aims to become a global tech powerhouse. The city has already laid out plans to become an artificial intelligence hub and has set its sights on becoming a world “e-sports capital.”

  • Home to DJI, the world’s largest drone maker, the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen is traditionally seen as the center of China’s drone industry.
  • Shanghai this year set up an AI alliance with a number of China’s biggest tech companies, including Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba, aiming to boost its focus on emerging technologies.

Details: Shanghai’s Jinshan District has implemented 18 policies to attract businesses to the city, including covering up to 20% of a firm’s budget to build research and development centers in the city.

  • Drone makers that choose to build their headquarters in Jinshan can apply for up to RMB 5 million in subsidies to cover the cost of building their offices.
  • The city also hopes to attract talent by offering people who work at a Jinshan-based drone company up to RMB 600,000 to buy an apartment.
  • The new measures were announced at the East China Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Base Innovative Development Summit Forum on Tuesday.

Context: Jinshan hopes to attract up to 100 domestic and international drone makers by 2021.

  • China’s industry ministry expects the country’s drone market to be worth RMB 60 billion by next year, expanding to RMB 180 billion by 2025.
  • Drone development aligns with the country’s Made in China 2025 Initiative, which aims to move China up the industrial value chain and away from traditional manufacturing.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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