US To Place Drone Manufacturer DJI on New Investment Blocklist

The U.S. government will reportedly place drone manufacturer DJI and seven other Chinese companies on a new investment blocklist, citing how they assisted Beijing in the surveillance of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.

DJI Mavic 3. Credit: DJI

According to the Financial Times, who broke the story, the U.S. Treasury will add all eight companies to its “Chinese military-industrial complex companies” list on Tuesday. And once the move is official, American citizens will no longer be able to invest in these companies.


Joining DJI on the list are image recognition software makers Megvii and CloudWalk Technology, artificial intelligence research enterprise Yitu, cyber security and forensics specialist Xiamen Meiya Pico, supercomputer supplier Dawning Information Industry and IT companies Leon Technology and NetPosa Technologies.


The U.S. Commerce Department is also expected to put two dozen new Chinese companies onto its Entity List, which DJI has been a part of since December of last year. The Entity list bans American companies from selling components to Chinese companies.


However, unlike Huawei, the most notable entry on the Entity List, DJI can continue to sell its photography and videography products in the US. These include camera stabilizers, gimbals, and commercial drones, among other offerings.


"DJI is disappointed in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision. Customers in America can continue to buy and use DJI products normally. DJI remains committed to developing the industry’s most innovative products that define our company and benefit the world," the company said in a statement.

A vocational skills education centre for Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Credit: Thomas Peter via Reuters

The report comes as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to grow. Just yesterday, the U.S. House and Senate passed a bill that would ban American companies from importing products made in Xinjiang over concerns of forced labour in the Chinese province. Beijing has on numerous occasions denied allegations that it’s committing human rights violations.


This is not the first time DJI has been targeted in the West, having been previously accused of being a risk to U.S. national security. Despite this, the Shenzhen-based company remains the popular choice among consumers, controlling a 77% share of the American consumer drone market last year. DJI will likely continue to record strong numbers this year, bolstered by the launch of its flagship Mavic 3 drone and its Ronin 4D professional camera.


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