In his keynote at Riegl Lidar 2015 in China, Dr. Yanjing Liu 0f Five Star, a Riegl reseller provided a timeline of the key developments over the past 10 years concerning the introduction and use of lidar in China.
There was an early introduction of the technology including the first demonstration of a Riegl scanner in 2003, but as of 2005 there was basically no lidar experience or expertise in China. The first projects were met with wide doubt and when some of the earliest efforts resulted in failures those doubts were confirmed.
Over the past ten years the universities and research institutes have made great strides completing many cultural heritage, mapping and infrastructure projects. The Great Wall was scanned in 2006. On the mobile front there were issues with exporting IMUs to China.
Today the use of UAVs is HOT according to Dr. Liu, but he also says that China is still far behind other countries in southeast Asia and the rest of the world.
BTW the average income of a citizen is $80 per month.