Chinese passenger drone maker Ehang has more than quadrupled its revenues and significantly narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter, the company said Wednesday, but it expects some short-term effects from Covid-19 in 2020.

Why it matters: In Ehang’s first quarterly financial results since listing on Nasdaq in December, the urban air mobility company recorded a surging top line as well as solid progress toward commercialization of its passenger drones.

  • The Guangzhou-based startup expects revenues to double in 2020.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic will bring some “short-term turbulence” to Ehang and the urban air mobility industry, CEO and co-founder Huazhi Hu said in a statement.

Details: “Absence and late return of front-line workers, delayed fulfillment across our supply chain, and the short-term disruption on some of our customers’ industries such as tourism” as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak might dampen Ehang’s results in 2020, the company said. But it is looking to explore new opportunities such as emergency response and search and rescue.

  • Ehang’s Q4 revenue rocketed 421% year on year to RMB 54.7 million ($7.9 million) from RMB 10.4 million.
  • Despite these gains, Ehang’s net losses per share were RMB 0.22 ($0.03) or RMB 15.5 million ($2.2 million) in the quarter ended December, 43% lower than the RMB 27.1 million in Q4 2018.
  • In 2019, Ehang sold 61 of its Ehang 216 passenger drone, 26 of which were sold in the fourth quarter and 18 in the third quarter, the startup said. In 2018 it sold no drones.

Context: The drone maker’s initial public offering raised $46 million, less than half of its initial goal of $100 million.

  • Ehang drones have received flight permission from the US Federal Aviation Authority as well as Norway’s regulator. The drone maker has conducted test flights, including some for passenger drones, in 15 cities in China and Europe. It has signed agreements to cooperate on urban air mobility with Guangzhou in southern China and Linz, the third-largest city in Austria.
  • The startup outlined its vision for the future of urban air mobility a month after it went public. Ehang wants to create bus-like infrastructure for drones, compared to the taxi visions of other companies.

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.