What you need to know about China’s low-altitude economy | BEYOND EXPO 2024

Guangzhou plans to commercialize low-altitude passenger aircraft within three years, spearheading China's low-altitude economy with new technologies.

: Guangzhou has launched a plan to commercialize passenger aircraft in low-altitude airspace within three years, with nearly 30 other Chinese cities following suit. This initiative aligns with Beijing's goals to establish strategic emerging industries, focusing on technologies like eVTOL. Challenges remain, such as regulatory hurdles and technological limitations, but Guangdong aims to lead the first region for these flying vehicles.

Guangzhou unveiled its action plan on May 31 to boost the development of the low-altitude economy, aiming to commercialize aircraft for passenger transport over the next three years. Nearly 30 other Chinese cities have included similar initiatives in their work plans, indicating broad interest in this emerging industry.

The low-altitude economy encompasses businesses that utilize civil manned and unmanned aerial vehicles below 3,000 meters for applications in agriculture, logistics, and tourism. Electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) are seen as a promising area, leveraging existing capabilities from the electric vehicle industry.

Despite the industry's rapid growth, the commercialization of flying vehicles could still take three to five years due to technological and regulatory challenges. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is expected to be a major staging ground for these innovations, with plans to build infrastructure and support manufacturers in research and development.