For big Chinese brands, the classic story is this: They grow huge in their home market, then find it tougher to build global brands. That’s been the case for many Chinese electronics or appliance companies, including Haier, Hisense and Midea. Even Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which now gets about 58% of sales outside China, battled for years to go global.
But one category has veered off that path: drones. Many Chinese makers of consumer drones, including category-dominating giant DJI, have successfully built themselves as international brands from the start. Today the global market for civilian drones is 85% Chinese brands, according to IDC. Their rise has come as Chinese tech companies are spending big money on research and development and trying to change the image of what “Made in China” means. The category is still