DJI military training required for all employees in China to ‘prepare for war’

Ok, here’s the latest. DJI military training is required for all employees in China to ‘prepare for war’ as the world’s largest drone maker is undergoing radical changes in company culture and employees.

Updated as of 11:50 am on 9/25/2020 with an official response from DJI. See below for details.

Read part 2 here.

DJI military training required for all employees in China to ‘prepare for war’

In an earlier article, we already hinted at this new training method from DJI, however, it turns out that it is not simply an onboarding training but rather a training exercise that all DJI employees in China must go through.

The DJI employees in the photo are merely the first batch of people who are required to undergo the four-day military training from DJI. The DJI Military training starts at 4 am and runs from Thursday through Sunday, requiring the employees to sacrifice their weekends.

The DJI employees shown here are from the Channel Sales, the e-Commerce, and the Product Operations teams. For instance, we were able to identify Thomas Yuan (the seventh person from the right in the topline) with the dark glasses. He is the VP of Sales for DJI.

Thomas Yuan - DJI military training required for all employees in China to'prepare for war'

What is the purpose of the DJI military training?

The purpose of the training is to strengthen the spirit of the team and to prepare for war. Survival of the fittest.

During the DJI military training, the group is split into different teams and each training segment points can be earned. At the end of the training camp, the team with the lowest points gets ‘punished.’

We know from our research in preparation for the ‘Game of Drones‘ article, that ‘punishment’ within DJI carries more weight than what we might expect from an American or European company. We’re still in process of finding out more about what exactly this means. And, of course, we will share any new information with you here on DroneXL when it becomes available.

DJI military training required for all employees in China to'prepare for war'

In the photo, two banners are shown. The one in the background refers to a military training academy. The large red banner shown in front of the DJI employees says:

“Putting your hearts together means putting your strength together.”

And underneath it reads:

“DJI Innovation Marketing Sales Department Expansion Training Camp.”

We also checked for any Exif data in the original photo file but all that info had already been removed by our source so we do not have an exact day, time, and location on the image. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed it is not a drone photo.

The information about the DJI military training camp comes after the company has gone through extensive rounds of layoffs and ‘Long March‘ reforms in China, Europe, and the United States.

Who is DJI going to war with?

Let us know what you think about this photo and DJI military training camp? The military mindset and culture might well be what has made DJI so successful over the years. But, since there is hardly any significant competition in the drone industry for DJI, it does make you wonder… who are they preparing to go to war with?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Official DJI response

As of this morning (9/25/2020), we have received an official response from DJI. Just to be clear, when I wrote that DJI was training its employees to ‘prepare for war’, these are the words used by a DJI insider to describe what the training exercise was like according to people who attended the four-day event. Personally, I don’t take these words in the literal sense of the phrase, but as an indication of the kind of culture that DJI might foster. A fighting mentality, if you will. You can read DJI’s response below, and I’ll leave up to you to decide what this event might have been like. In my opinion, considering the trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the information I received from our source, and the look of the photo, make this a news item worth reporting on.

To be clear:

1) The event mentioned in the story was not a military training, it was a team building event where select DJI staff spend the weekend together to engage in team building exercises, sporting games, and various challenges that test their problem solving skills.

2) The group photo showing the banner was the theme of the event, which translates into “Putting your hearts together AND putting your strength together.” It does not mean DJI is going to war as the article had implied.

Team building events and activities are quite common in different organizations and in different countries around the world. Some may bring their team on a junket and others may spend the weekend at a bootcamp. We are happy to see our internal events garnering interest for those outside the company, but it is unfortunate how things can be taken out of context and lead to sensationalism supported by unvalidated sources.

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About the author

Haye Kesteloo

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