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DJI Drones Hits Pause Button With Russia And Ukraine

Drone Manufacturer DJI Halts Business With Russia And Ukraine Citing ‘Reassessing Compliance Requirements’

In a statement issued earlier this week, drone maker DJI, a Chinese-based company indicated that it will temporarily halt business in Russia and Ukraine while they ‘internally reassess compliance requirements in various jurisdictions.’

This decision appears to be driven by the current hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. DJI added that they are not in favor of their products being used to cause harm. 

Since the beginning of hostilities on 24th February 2022, several sources stated that drones (in Ukraine’s hand) with arms or supplies could help level the playing field in their favor. However, DJI appeared to be holding fast to its ‘principles’, stating its opposition to weaponizing their drones and threatening to cut off distributors who resell to customers 'clearly intent' on militarizing the drones’ use.

It’s been just over two and a half months since Russia-Ukraine hostilities began. A few questions: Why did China wait so long to decide to ‘reassess’? Does the decision to halt business solve the ‘problem’ of supply? Is it because the Ukranian government publicly called them out on being complicit in Russia’s attacks? Is it because of public shaming due to their position/action/lack of? Or, is there something else? Only China knows the true answers to these questions. Undoubtedly, any internet search for drone manufacturers, top 10 lists and any combination therein, shows DJI at the top of almost every one of them. 

The free-market forces may provide an opportunity for the number 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th ranked to step up their game. But wait, what about those chips? A few of you may be shocked to know that the computer chip industry started in the USA, it was at the top of the heap from the 50’s to the 70’s, and today, the only chip race it seems to be leading is of potato variety, in sales and consumption! If you’re curious about the top three sellers in the world, the USA has that covered, its Lays, Ruffles, and Pringles. 

About 12% of the world’s computer chips are made in the USA, with the lion’s share, some 75% of them, coming from East Asia. COVID-19 was an unwelcome houseguest that refused to leave, but it proved to be a reality check, an opportunity for reflection, and perhaps redemption. It will take decades for the USA to regain its dominance and subsequently independence in that and other arenas. Hopefully the journey has begun.



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