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Nansha takes off as China’s official low-altitude hub

Planning officials want Nansha, a district of Guangzhou, to spearhead ‘early breakthroughs’ in the emerging unmanned aircraft sector.

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PUBLISHED

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

China’s top economic planners have selected Nansha, a district in Guangzhou less than 100 kilometres from Macao, as the pacesetter for the country’s emerging “low-altitude economy,” the South China Morning Post reports

The term refers to the business activities of unmanned aerial equipment – including drones and electric vertical take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft – that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) wants Nansha to make commonplace.

The NDRC’s deputy secretary general, Xiao Weiming, said the commission sought to make Nansha “a carrier for bold exploration and early breakthroughs” in the sector. “We expect to generate pioneering experiences that can usher in new developments in key reform areas nationwide,” he added.

[See more: Policymakers plan to make Nansha a ‘key development zone’]

Unmanned vehicles generally operate in airspace within one kilometre of the earth’s surface and can perform tasks such as package deliveries, air-taxi services and sightseeing trips. 

Data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China showed the sector’s value exceeded 500 billion yuan (US$69.1 billion) last year and is expected to reach 2 trillion yuan (US$277 billion) by 2030.

The NDRC has also encouraged Nansha to spearhead development in non-aviation unmanned devices, including autonomous cars and manufacturing robots.

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