Is this Chinese drone maker worth $10 billion?

This drone crashed the White House lawn
This drone crashed the White House lawn

The world's most innovative drone maker is not based in Silicon Valley. It's in China -- and it could be worth $10 billion.

SZ DJI Technology Co., better known as DJI, is looking to raise money from investors at a $10 billion valuation, according to media reports. A company spokesman confirmed to CNN that DJI is talking to venture capital firms, but declined to comment further.

The upstart Chinese firm is at the forefront of the drone invasion, offering professional quality machines to consumers for around $1,000. Should the funding round come off, the company's $10 billion valuation would catapult it into the ranks of elite tech startups.

DJI's drones are designed with four propellers, and are easy for beginners to control. One of the latest models, the Phantom 3, comes equipped with a camera that shoots in 4K or 1080p, and has a range of 1.2 miles (2 kilometers). The drones are used by enthusiasts, commercial clients and the media (CNN owns a few, for example).

The world got a close look at one of the company's products in January, when a DJI drone crash landed on the White House grounds, sparking worries over security. (DJI has already installed no-fly zones in some models).

DJI Phantom 2 Vision
This is the DJI Phantom 2 Vision, which shoots HD videos.

Still, it's a remarkable growth story: In 2006, the Shenzhen-based company had only one small office. Now DJI has more than 3,000 workers and offices in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands, among other locations. It is by far the dominant drone manufacturer.

The company's success has also helped undermine the idea that Chinese tech firms aren't as innovative as their foreign competitors.

Related: FAA allows Amazon to test drones in U.S.

DJI's CEO, Frank Wang, who founded the company while attending college in Hong Kong, says he is proud of the company's innovation record.

"Many Chinese companies manufacture cheaper versions of advanced foreign products," he told the Wall Street Journal in November. "But we are proud to say that we have been leading the industry since we started -- even now."

"Chinese companies now are getting better; before, they lagged behind," he said. "Now, more and more Chinese companies are doing well worldwide, like Huawei, Tencent (TCEHY) and Alibaba (BABA)."

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