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The Secret To DJI’s Market Leadership

DJI’s success is built on being an industry first mover, achieving scale, and passing on those benefits to consumers through fairer prices and higher quality. Our relentless focus on R&D, combined with a belief that technology can solve most problems and that market competition improves the entire industry, has been our winning formula.

Some of our U.S competitors and their stakeholders have suggested that the success of DJI's products and company are a direct result of unique subsidies provided to the company. This assertion is unfounded and these are the reasons why:

DJI leads the market because it created it

What many might not know is that DJI, just like thousands of other startups, was founded in a college dorm room. In 2006, its founder, then a student with a passion for remote-controlled flight, decided to start a company dedicated to opening the hobby to more people by making aircraft easier to fly. Over the years, he along with a small team of engineers studied RC aircraft control systems, developing and iterating what would later become the DJI Phantom drone. The iterative approach to design and focus on the end user experience is what drives DJI product development ensuring ease of flight operations, safety and reliability.

DJI's industry leadership stems from this first-mover advantage and dedication to innovation. Contrary to critics' claims of subsidization, DJI's ability to offer competitively priced products in over 100 countries is by leveraging mass production, supply chain integration, global price competition, and continuous investment in research and development. In fact, out of DJI’s 14,000-strong workforce, 25% is dedicated to product development.

“The Phantom was DJI’s first fully assembled model and among the first drones designed explicitly for consumers. To understand its impact when it hit the market in 2013, you need to first understand that essentially all the other quadcopters on the market then were almost impossible for newbies to fly…
The Phantom was flyable right out of the box for most people. It was affordable enough for serious hobbyists, and cheap enough for anyone who wanted to use it for professional purposes.”

Brian Santo, IEEE Spectrum (2018)
[Read article]



Companies around the world benefit from friendly macroeconomic practices at home

The United States, for example, offers tax credits for small businesses, hiring, research and development, manufacturing and more. Many states and municipalities also offer separate incentives to local businesses in their area. Under the definition employed by DJI’s critics, virtually any company could be considered ‘subsidized.’ 

As noted in an earlier article, DJI’s critics often cite one story in the media as proof of direct subsidy for the company. To be clear, DJI’s majority ownership rests with our founding partners. The remaining investors are from the private sector with the exception of less than a 6% stake and under 1% voting rights that are owned by several state-owned banks, one state-owned insurance company, and two municipal investment funds. These enterprises are the same as any institutional investor that purchases stock in a private company, regardless of where that company is headquartered. The equivalent investment in the United States would be a state backed pension fund investing in U.S. based technology companies. The investment is neither subsidy nor control and represents the same investor goal as every other interest. No government entity or representative sits on DJI’s board or has any role in its operations. 

DJI supports the growth of U.S. industry

DJI has consistently supported the development of the local U.S. drone industry for years and will continue to do so. An economic impact report revealed that the use of DJI products generates more than $116 billion in economic benefits and supports over 450,000 U.S. jobs. Software and hardware firms have built entire businesses around our products, while service providers, farmers, utility companies, and more depend on them. We are proud that they continue to choose us. In a recent survey conducted by an association of drone service providers, two-thirds of respondents stated they would go out of business without access to our products.

Drones offer numerous benefits across various industries and use cases, and we are still in the early stages of mass adoption. There is room in the market for all players, but the only way the market will thrive is if we all compete to offer the best products and with the most value. Removing DJI from the U.S. market will force operators, including those in public safety who use drones to save lives, to resort to alternative products that may not be as capable or reliable.

To strengthen the U.S. drone industry and enhance security and competitiveness, we advocate:

  1. The establishment of industry-wide drone security standards that are technology-based (not country of origin-based)
  2. Retaining drone operators’ freedom to choose the best drone platform that serves their operational needs 
  3. A free, open and competitive marketplace so that the market decides which products thrive

Topics: Get The Facts

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