There’s plenty of room to grow for the start-up environment in China, according to the head of Chinese drone maker EHang, who told CNBC on Wednesday that the U.S. is still ahead in most areas of innovation and technology.

“The U.S. is a more mature market, people spend more time working on fundamental technologies, while in China it’s more about application level or working on business models that you can see results within maybe five to six years. I think this is the area that China still needs to catch up,” EHang co-founder Derrick Xiong told CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

Xiong said one reason for this is the strong ties between universities and start-up companies in the U.S.

“In China it seems like the collaboration between the academics side with the start-up side is still not as strong as (in) the U.S.,” he said.

It’s an honest assessment from a company that claimed the title of world’s first flying taxi: The EHang 184 is an autonomous passenger drone that has already passed test flights in the skies of Dubai.

Xiong aims to hold a public demonstration of the drone in the next few months.




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