Updated, December 19, 2020 (08:00 AM ET): A representative for DJI responded to our request for a statement pertaining to the DJI Entity List news below. Here is the statement in full:
DJI is disappointed in the US Department of Commerce’s decision. Customers in America can continue to buy and use DJI products normally. DJI remains committed to developing the industry’s most innovative products that define our company and benefit the world.
From this statement, it appears it will be business as usual for the company in the short-term. However, it will be interesting to see how this affects the company in the long term, especially since the Trump administration will exit the White House in a month.
Original article, December 18, 2020 (12:30 PM ET): As first reported by Drone DJ, it appears that popular drone and camera company DJI is now on the United States government’s “Entity List.” That list is a compendium of Chinese companies. Presence on the list results in trade bans between listed organizations and US-based firms.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Huawei is also on that list. Its presence there has made smartphone business dealings quite difficult and selling Huawei smartphones with Google apps onboard impossible.
According to Drone DJ and several other news outlets, the US put DJI on the Entity List because of its tangential connection to alleged human rights violations by the Chinese government. In essence, the US accuses DJI of supplying equipment to China so it can spy on and monitor its citizens for illegal purposes.
DJI on Entity List: What it could mean
As of now, it is unclear how much a US trade ban would affect DJI. Unlike Huawei, DJI doesn’t incorporate high-profile US-based tech within its products. It’s feasible that DJI could survive with only minor alterations.
However, if a major component of one of its products is sourced from a US-based firm, then that component would need to be sourced from somewhere else. If DJI couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make that change, then that product wouldn’t see continued production.
The bottom line here is that this is not good news for DJI. Even if the company can continue to sell its products under the limitations of the Entity List, it doesn’t look good for it to be on there.
We reached out to a DJI spokesperson for comment on this article, but they did not respond to us before press time.