Chinese technology company PowerVision Group has established a strong presence in the industrial drone market across multiple sectors. Now the company is expanding its reach thanks to new European headquarters in Helsinki.
PowerVision Group is known for products and services related to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including smart drones, virtual reality, data visualization and forecasting. Founded in Beijing in 2010, the company has grown into a robotics and big data specialist with nearly 500 employees in Australia, China, Germany, the US and now Finland. In February PowerVision opened its new European headquarters in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
“The Helsinki office handles our marketing, sales and services in Europe,” says Huber Hu, CEO of PowerVision Europe.
The office will also help to bolster the company’s R&D activities and collaborative network across the region.
Egging on in the consumer space
The opening of the Helsinki office was motivated by an important new step for PowerVision. While its industrial drones are widely used for data collecting, mapping and monitoring in various sectors (such as agriculture, security, energy and utilities), in February the company announced its first consumer product: a multi-purpose drone called the ‘PowerEgg’.
The name PowerEgg refers to the drone’s distinctive oval shape, which makes it foldable and easy to transport. Behind this was 18 months of development work focused on making PowerEgg lightweight, compact and easy to fly without compromises to its features, including a 360-degree panoramic 4K HD camera.The first shipments of the PowerEgg will start in late 2016.
“We have received a nice amount of pre-orders and expect to deliver those soon. We expect huge growth next year,” says Hu.
The role of the Helsinki office will be crucial to reaching a new consumer segment as PowerVision’s first sales unit in Europe. The company has an existing R&D unit in Frankfurt, Germany but it was convinced by Helsinki’s potential as a key business location.
“The reasons for setting [our headquarters] up in Helsinki were its excellent business environment, highly developed technology ecosystem and rich talent resources,” Hu explains.
He also highlights the support PowerVision received from public organisations Invest in Finland and regional development agency Helsinki Business Hub (HBH) during the decision-making process. For example, HBH provided the company with research on the business environment, tax and labour costs as well as helping with recruitment and connecting Hu with potential local partners.
Finnish expansion and advanced robotics
Currently PowerVision employs ten people in Helsinki and expects to recruit a further 50 employees within the next two years. In addition the company is tapping into Finnish engineering skills and research cooperation with local universities in Tampere, Central Finland, where it has already started recruitment for a new R&D centre. The centre will initially focus on antenna, wireless transmission and camera technologies.
This is all part of PowerVision’s ambitious global growth plan for its consumer business. In five years time the company expects to have multiple successful business lines focused not only on drones, but advanced robots for consumer use.
Hu emphasises PowerVision’s operations in Helsinki will be important in expanding the company’s market reach and running various activities in its R&D and ecosystem collaboration.
“The Helsinki office will play a big role as the PowerVision HQ in Europe and also cover the Middle East and Africa” Hu concludes. “We aim to be the world’s leading consumer robot company.”
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