Chinese drone maker says it's 'on a good track' to profitability, even after filing for US bankruptcy

  • China's EHang filed for bankruptcy in its U.S. business in May, but it's confident that profitability will come by the end of 2019, a company executive told CNBC.
  • Ehang wowed crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016 when it revealed the first human-carrying drone.

Chinese drone manufacturer EHang filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. in May, but it's still "on a good track" to achieving profitability by the end of 2019, a company executive told CNBC on Thursday.

Filing for insolvency was all part of an "internal strategic adjustment" of its corporate strategy, company Chief Financial Officer Richard Liu said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Beijing.

The company is "considering" additional financing and speaking to potential investors, he told CNBC.

EHang wowed crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016 when it revealed the first human-carrying drone — known as the EHang 184 — which can carry up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of weight for 25 minutes.

"We created the world's first human-carrying autonomous aerial vehicle and a lot of people know that EHang 184 is serious," he said. "There will be a huge market opportunity along this line."

In preparation for that, commercialization efforts for the vehicle are being planned for the end of 2018 or early 2019, he said.

On top of receiving pre-orders for drones in applications such as aerial sightseeing and cargo delivery, Liu also pointed to EHang's 1,000-unit order from United Therapeutics, which aims to transport manufactured organs for transplants in a "life-saving scenario."

The company has also been focusing on research and development in the past three to four years, he added.

"Enter into 2018, we have seen clear commercialization momentum," he said.