12:58 pm ET Nov 10, 2014 CHINA Q&A: Chinese Drone Founder Explains Why Steve Jobs Is His Role Model

Frank Wang of DJI Innovations
DJI CEO Frank Wang, creator of the Phantom drone, speaks about DJI’s start and the future of unmanned aircraft.

The rapid rise in demand for consumer drones has made China’s SZ DJI Technology Co. a global brand in short order. But this is only the beginning, says founder and Chief Executive Frank Wang, who foresees a decade of promise ahead for drones and for DJI.

Mr. Wang recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal at the company’s Shenzhen, China, headquarters. Edited excerpts:

WSJ: How did you get into model aircraft and what gave you the inkling to start a drone company?

Wang: This stuff has been my dream since childhood. At elementary school I saw my first model helicopter in a shop. It cost the equivalent of several months’ salary for average people. My family could not afford it. But finally, after I did a good job on my high-school finals, my parents rewarded me with a model helicopter. I assembled it but I wasn’t able to fly it properly because to do that needed months of practice. So when I did try to fly it, the helicopter immediately crashed. It was impossible for ordinary people to fly that machine.

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