BUSTED: Five Common Myths About DJI

People have a lot to say about DJI. Usually it’s about how our drones provide incredible views of the world and serve as powerful tools for people, businesses, governments, scientists and photographers. But we occasionally hear some negative comments as well – including accusations that are unfair, unwarranted or simply untrue. So we want to set the record straight about a few common myths that have been spread about DJI.


Myth #1: DJI drones automatically send pictures and flight information to DJI or to China.

BUSTED: DJI builds privacy protections into its systems and gives its users control over how their drone data is collected, stored and transmitted. Flight logs, photos, and videos taken during drone use are never automatically transmitted to DJI or anywhere else, and users always control whether to voluntarily share that data with anyone.

  • All of our drone products can be operated without an internet connection at all, which provides one simple, effective, and easily verifiable way to guarantee no drone data is sent anywhere.
  • Our Government Edition solution also disables the ability to send any data to DJI, even voluntarily, to guard against employee accidents or breaches of protocol.
  • If DJI customers in the United States choose to voluntarily share their data, it is all stored on servers located in the U.S., hosted by Amazon Web Services and Alibaba which are certified for compliance with ISO standards and have System and Organization Control independent auditing. DJI Enterprise and Government Edition customers with more stringent data privacy and security requirements can store data on their own servers or a private cloud.
  • The truth about DJI’s drones and software systems has been repeatedly examined and confirmed by trusted U.S. cybersecurity firms FTI Consulting, Booz Allen Hamilton,  and Kivu Consulting, as well as U.S. federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Interior,  and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


5 Drone Myths Busted - Pull Quote


Myth #2: DJI customer data will be shared with the Chinese government

BUSTED: Because DJI designs privacy protections into our systems, we cannot access any flight logs, photos, or videos, unless customers voluntarily share them with us. Even when presented with a lawful request for information, DJI cannot provide data that we don’t have.

  • China’s National Security Law has raised questions and assumptions about what data DJI might be required to share if asked. However, as one leading China scholar noted, “When we hear statements like, ‘Well, the companies have to do whatever the government says by law,’ it’s a lot more messy in practice and that isn’t necessarily the case.” Any DJI customers concerned about this law can simply choose not to share any flight logs, photos, or videos with us.
  • Like other global technology companies, DJI routinely receives requests for information from governments around the world. We require all governments to produce a warrant, subpoena or other formal legal request, which we evaluate under relevant law before producing any customer information.
  • This commitment was proven in the investigation of one of the world’s most significant drone incidents. When a DJI drone hit a U.S. Army helicopter over New York in 2017, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board subpoenaed DJI, but we had no data to provide.


Myth #3: DJI is funded, owned, or controlled by the government of China

BUSTED: DJI is a privately held company, not a state-owned enterprise. DJI was founded in 2006 by Frank Wang during his time studying at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The company is now headquartered in Shenzhen, known as China’s Silicon Valley for the many global tech firms based there.

  • DJI is managed and run by Wang and his founding colleagues. DJI did not receive any Chinese government investments, but American venture capital firms invested more than $100 million.


Myth #4: DJI stole other companies’ technology or intellectual property

BUSTED: DJI created the consumer and commercial drone market by being the first company to build and deploy the technology that has advanced the entire industry, such as stable hovering, automatic return-to-home, highly reliable radio links, obstacle avoidance, folding drone bodies and geofencingDJI invents the technology that customers demand, and competitors copy us.

  • DJI employs thousands of engineers who work relentlessly to ensure DJI maintains its technological edge, and we are strong believers in the patent system that protects inventions and intellectual property. DJI has been granted nearly 500 patents in the United States relating to our pioneering products and technologies. 

Myth #5: DJI succeeded in the US market by “dumping” products below cost

BUSTED: DJI leads the drone industry because we deliver what customers want – the most innovative technology at competitive prices. We were the first to develop many popular features, our design and manufacturing expertise allows us to retool and introduce new products quickly, and we have met the technical challenges of drone development and production better than our competitors.

  • Long-time market observers know that DJI has never sold the least expensive drones available, but instead has provided premium products at reasonable prices. A U.S. federal court rejected allegations of unfair pricing last year, ruling that DJI’s American sales practices have been “fully consistent with robust competition in a growing market.”
  • Competitors like 3D Robotics founder Chris Anderson also agree, saying, “They were just amazing. I think we just got beaten fair and square.” Independent assessments have said American drone companies suffered from technical and management failures, not cost pressure. Even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said American competitors “have been met with business failures due to mismanagement or inferior manufacturing designs.” 
  • DJI competitors based in the U.S., France and China have recently launched well-reviewed and well-received products to challenge DJI’s commercial and government drones on performance and capability, demonstrating that the market continues to be robust and competitive.

Featured photo courtesy of Jamie Hancock