Contrary to what you might have read online today, DJI is NOT leaving the U.S. market. And honestly, why would they? DJI all but owns the professional and consumer drone market in the U.S. Why would they leave? It doesn't make any sense. And, if you don't believe me, well keep reading.
DJI is NOT leaving the U.S. market
Some online News outlets today were suggesting that DJI would leave the U.S market. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For one, it doesn't make any sense. DJI does not have any real competition in its largest drone market, the U.S. Yeah, sure, Skydio and Autel Robotics may have drones that can rival and even better some of DJI's drones. However, neither one of these companies is producing and delivering drones in the quantities that DJI does. Skydio and Autel are not hurting DJI's sales to the point that DJI is getting worried.
Secondly, as far as the Coronavirus is concerned, sure that puts pressure on the drone market. But, it also creates opportunities to showcase what can be done with drones. DJI has fast-tracked the U.S. Disaster Relief Program to quickly get more DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drones in the hands of First Responders and local law enforcement around the country and to show them the benefits that drones offer. A smart move from DJI to provide some first-hand experience to these agencies and to demonstrate how drones can be used for good.
Thirdly, in response to a message in a Facebook for professional drone pilots, where somebody was wondering if DJI would be leaving the U.S. market, Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI, simply said:
This doesn't mean that the Coronavirus crisis is not having an effect on DJI's drone business. It does have an effect. But, maybe not where you'd expect it. Instead of DJI being overly concerned with their own organization, the company seems to worry more about their dealer network in the U.S.
Based on what I've learned today, it seems that DJI has withdrawn its credit terms to a number of dealers in the U.S. as the drone maker is increasingly concerned about the dealers' ability to pay their invoices. This additional financial pressure will make it harder for some DJI dealers to operate throughout this crisis. However, at the same time, I've heard from other DJI dealers that all is business as usual, albeit with some additional social distancing.
As far as DJI firing people in the U.S. organization, all the people I know and interact with from DJI are still there, with the exception of Mario Rebello, who recently left the company and now works for Otis Elevator Co.
However, a DJI spokesperson did tell DroneXL in an email that:
“DJI has made some organizational changes in order to adapt to today's challenging economic environment. As a private company we do not share more detailed information.”
So, yes, the Coronavirus is having an impact on DJI and the Drone Industry in general. No doubt about that. But, I'm not concerned that DJI will leave the U.S. market any time soon, even though they are continuing to face a political headwind.
What do you think the impact of the Coronavirus is on the drone market? And what do you think is happening with DJI? Let us know in the comments below.
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