The DJI Hong Kong flagship store at Tower 535 in Causeway Bay will be shut permanently as of August 16 due to stricter rules for flying drones recreationally, a notice at the main entrance reads.
DJI Hong Kong flagship store will shut permanently
The store closure comes weeks after Hong Kong city authorities tightened the rules for recreational drone flying.
The statement from DJI at the store’s entrance says that the Hong Kong retail location will be closed to “the company’s and market’s evolving needs.” The notice was posted on August 9th and explains that customers can continue to buy DJI drones online or at authorized resellers.
“We thank all the customers who have shown great support to us throughout the past few years,” the world’s largest drone maker said. “DJI will remain committed to our customers and partners in the Hong Kong market and around the world as we continue to develop the industry’s most advanced drones and creative camera technology.”
The DJI Hong Kong flagship store was opened in 2016 with great fanfare and now has become the biggest victim of the more strict rules for flying drones in the city. Drone pilots in Hong Kong will now need to undergo training before they can fly unmanned aircraft. All pilots flying drones weighing between 250 grams and seven kilograms (roughly 15 pounds), must take a short online training that explains safe flying practices, such as maximum elevation and distance at which the aircraft can be flown. Drone operators that are aiming to fly unmanned aircraft weighing more than 7 kilograms will need to pass a much more in-depth training course and pass a competency test at their own expense.
SCMP reports that drone insurance is mandatory for all drones weighing more than 250 grams with coverage ranging from HK$5 million (US$642,000) to HK$10 million for the largest machines weighing over 7kg. The new drone regulations in Hong Kong went into effect on June 22nd, with a six-month grace period to allows drone pilots to get used to the new rules.
In an email to the SCMP, a DJI spokesperson said that the DJI Hong Kong flagship store closure was not related to the new drone regulations.
The DJI Hong Kong flagship store was the third store to be opened after DJI retail locations in Shenzhen and Seoul. The store carried the full DJI product line.
Store rents in Causeway Bay are exceptionally high and the protests in Hong Kong and the Coronavirus lockdowns have made a retail presence in the city more challenging. Last year retail sales plummeted by 24.3% and visitor arrivals to Hong Kong dropped 94% over the same period. Other retail stores from brands such as Adidas, Gap, and Esprit shut their locations as well.
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