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Zhuhai aims high in low-altitude economy

Updated: Mar 11, 2024 By WANG KEJU China Daily Print
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Huang Zhihao

The mayor of Zhuhai, in South China's Guangdong province, said the city will leverage its favorable location and strong technological ecosystem to accelerate the development of the low-altitude economy — a wide-ranging industry revolving around manned and unmanned civil aviation vehicles operating below an altitude of 1,000 meters.

"China's low-altitude economy is experiencing rapid growth, and its market prospects are vast," Huang Zhihao, who is also a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress, said in an interview in Beijing during the ongoing annual session of the country's national legislature.

"Zhuhai, recognizing the immense potential, is actively seizing the opportunity and pushing for accelerated development in this sector."

The city's efforts echo the emphasis on developing new quality productive forces laid out in this year's Government Work Report. The low-altitude economy is one of the sectors that has been identified as a significant component of the initiative.

China's low-altitude economy — including passenger transport, cargo delivery and other fields of operation — was estimated to be worth more than 500 billion yuan (about $70 billion) at the end of last year, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China expects its annual value to rise to 2 trillion yuan by 2030.

Many international and domestic participants in the low-altitude economy sector attended the 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai in 2022, Huang said.

The event served as a catalyst for innovation, communication and collaboration within the low-altitude economy sector, Huang said, adding that the air show will encourage greater participation from international organizations, professional associations and leading enterprises in the field.

Zhuhai boasts an extensive coastline and many islands, creating fertile ground for innovative logistics solutions and the exploration of new frontiers in the low-altitude economy, Huang said, adding that such scenarios include logistics and distribution, aerial inspection of islands and responding to emergencies.

China is promoting the construction of a low-altitude flight service system and aims to simplify application and approval procedures for low-altitude flight plans. It will also provide support to enterprises to carry out drone logistics distribution pilot projects in provinces including Guangdong.

By capitalizing on its geographical advantages and aligning with national policies, Zhuhai aims to establish itself as a testing base, driving the growth of the low-altitude economy and setting an example for the rest of the country, Huang said.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has emerged as the world's largest aviation market, establishing a robust foundation for the application of new technologies, he said.

Among the cities in the region, Zhuhai's proximity to Hong Kong and Macao provides convenient access to shared resources and a seamless integration of strengths and opportunities from all three regions, Huang added.

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