Exclusive interview with CEO of Yuneec: the drone industry’s ‘dark horse’

This is an excerpt of a story originally written by Sally French for MarketWatch.com. Read the entire story here.

MW-DU007_yuneec_20150910220521_ZHIn the consumer drone industry, Chinese drone manufacturer DJI is king. But another company has suddenly emerged as a major competitor.

Weeks after announcing a $60 million funding round from Intel, Yuneec is set to announce its first professional quality drone aimed at aerial photographers. The $4,999 Tornado H920 will allow up to 42 minutes of flight time – nearly unheard of in the drone industry. The Tornado comes just months after Yuneec’s first foray into drones with the lower-priced Typhoon model aimed more at hobbyists.

Yuneec worked with Panasonic to create a camera specifically for the Tornado with 3x optical zoom, allowing pilots to control it from the ground.

MW-DU078_yuneec_20150911153202_ZHDJI, the world’s largest consumer drone maker, is also bringing new products to market that indicate it’s aiming to dominate on professional-grade drones. It announced Thursday two new cameras for the company’s Inspire 1 drone that will allow super high-resolution imagery and are geared toward the enterprise consumer. DJI is expected to exceed $1 billion in sales this year and raised a $75 million investment in May, valuing the business at $8 billion.

But Shan Phillips, CEO of the U.S. branch of Yuneec, isn’t concerned about the competition. “The industry is big enough that there’s room for more of us,” he said. “What we want to be is the feisty number two.”

His bigger concern? Just getting Yuneec’s name out there.

Few people have heard of Yuneec — even in the relatively insular world of drones — or know how to pronounce it for that matter. (For the record, “It’s like ‘unique,’ ” Phillips said.)

Read the rest of this story here.

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  • I really like Yuneec, their customer support is really good. We got the Q500 4K a few weeks ago and the gimbal/camera was a bit faulty. Yuneec sent me a new one and I didn’t need to send mine back until after the new one arrived! That was Yuneec Europe. Yuneec UK has been slow to respond to our enquiries about their products, but they did reply eventually. I sent a DM to @yuneecaviation on Twitter saying they are welcome to post on our forums and tell everyone about their products, which other companies have done, and they haven’t even bothered to reply. Perhaps they think we’re too small to bother with, despite having pretty much the same amount of followers as them on Twitter and Facebook? Anyways, so there’s definitely more they could do regarding “Just getting Yuneec’s name out there”.

    • Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, based on their social media account followings, it seems like they don’t really have their name out there. Always interesting to see how different companies handle marketing.

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