China: Around The Nation

1,000 drones dominate southern China’s night sky in record-breaking display for Lantern Festival

Number of drones used in event to celebrate Lantern Festival in Guangzhou breaks Guinness World Record

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 2:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 3:07pm

People in a city in southern China celebrated the traditional Lantern Festival with a modern twist on Saturday as 1,000 illuminated drones were launched into the night sky in a record-breaking display.

The event was jointly organised by the Tianhe district government in Guangzhou, Guangdong province and the drone maker Ehang, according to a report on, a tour information website run by the city’s tourism bureau.

The drones were flown some 100 metres above central Haixinsha Square, forming images including the numbers “2017” and the shape of a rooster, as 2017 marks the Year of the Rooster.

The aircraft also formed the images of a map of China, the Chinese character “fu”, meaning fortune or happiness, as well as the figure “1,000” – the number of drones used.

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The drones broke the Guinness World Record for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously, according to the report.

The previous world record of 500 drones was set by the technology company Intel in a football field in Krailling, Germany.

In Guangzhou on Saturday night, the drones were set to fly in a display at an altitude of 120 metres high, covering an area 280 metres long and 180 metres wide. Each drone maintained a 1.5-metre distance from the others.

The entire performance was controlled by just one computer on the ground, monitoring and adjusting their positions and colour changes, the report said.

Accompanying the drone performance was festive music played by an orchestra.

One internet user on Sina Weibo described the drone display as “marvellous”. “Isn’t it better than firecrackers?” they said.

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Chinese people traditionally set off noisy firecrackers during the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Drone use has become popular in China. Ehang used drones to perform on a slew of occasions across the country last year, including a 100 drone show in a Central China Television gala performance in Zhuhai in Guangdong.