DJI President Roger Luo on China’s innovation & the future of drone business
By Ge Yunfei, Dai Piaoyi
DJI is the world’s largest drone manufacturer, and one of the brightest icons of China’s innovative power.
DJI has been known to the public for about five years, but it has actually gone through a decade-long entrepreneurial journey.  
"The success of DJI is because we gathered a group of like-minded young talents. These young talents did not pursue trends, capital and short-term interests. Instead, they kept advancing the techniques and wanted to fill in the technical gaps. They succeeded after five years of endeavors,” DJI President Roger Luo told CGTN in an interview.  
Luo's advice to young start-ups in China is to focus on basics. 
"Do not chase after trends and capital. Instead, return to the basics and try your best to do your job well," he said. 
DJI Consumer Drone /Photo provided by Guangzhou authorities 

DJI Consumer Drone /Photo provided by Guangzhou authorities 

Speaking about innovation and the driving force of China’s economy, Luo suggested that the government could play an active role in pushing innovation. 
He noted that the "government plays multiple roles. In the beginning, it should provide services and be a facilitator. And then it should turn to be a manager. It plays as a server and manager at different phases." 
He made a comparison between doing business and driving a car with passengers on the road under complex conditions. In his words, "the company is like the engine, consumers are like the passengers in the car, and the government is like the transmission gears." 
"Start-ups have nothing in the beginning, and need support from the government. The horse power is not powerful enough at first. Consumers don't have high demand for the price ratio and the performance of the company. The government is a bridge between the consumers and the company. Then the horse power of the car gets powerful and consumers become picky to the products gradually. By then, the role of the government would be different,” Luo added. 
DJI Agricultural Drone. /Photo provided by Guangzhou authorities

DJI Agricultural Drone. /Photo provided by Guangzhou authorities

According to Luo, the drone industry in the country is expected to grow by 80 percent this year on an annual basis. In 2016, drone business was valued at 10 billion yuan.
He hoped that in the future, the use of professional drones could help people in areas normally unreachable by humans. He also said that professional drones could even replace humans in some fields, giving agricultural drones as an example.
"The development of agricultural drones is very important for a big agricultural country like China. This business will benefit the country and the people," said Luo. 
When talking about the advantages of China and the US in the field of innovation, Luo admits that the US has the relative advantage of international talents. But he also believes that China’s e-commerce and online payment industries play a vital role in the world at present. In these areas, Chinese companies are as good as their American counterparts.
Luo stated that China needs to invest more in fundamental research. "It is the key for China to go further and achieve more in the future," he said.