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An XAG drone sprays crops (Photo courtesy of XAG)
Startups in Asia

Chinese startup sows seeds of farm revolution with drones and AI

XAG aims to ease grueling work of country's aging rural population

MICHELLE CHAN, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- Back in 2009 Justin Gong and a group of friends he calls "The Geeks" designed their first drone. For the 21-year-old Chinese business student, the prototype was a means to an end. As a freelance cameraman and passionate nature lover, he could use the technology to capture unique shots of animal migration.

A decade later, the 13 geeks have multiplied and today Gong is the vice president and co-founder of XAG, a Chinese dronemaker employing 1,400 people, which aims to bring technology to the world's farmers.

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