Is DJI a Chinese company?

Is DJI a Chinese company?

This one is super formulaic, simply because I cannot believe how many people have arrived at sUAS News asking that very question. I always thought the name, Da-Jiang Innovations was a clue!

DJI, which stands for Da-Jiang Innovations (大疆创新; ‘Great Frontier Innovations’), is a Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, with manufacturing facilities throughout the world.

It was founded in 2006 by Frank Wang and Wang Tao. Wang was a PhD student in electronic engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology when he started the company. He was interested in developing small, lightweight drones that could be used for aerial photography and videography.

DJI started out making helicopter autopilots, and the Flame Wheel frame series with NAZA controller were popular with hobbyists. They really started to shine with the release of the Phantom series in 2013. The Phantom’s main point of difference was its tidy plastic shell all joined up look.

At the time, DJI’s main competitor from America was 3DR, which had released the Iris in 2014 and the Solo in 2015. The Solo was technically ahead of DJI’s offering, but it was swept away by aggressive pricing from DJI and the late release of the gimbal for it.

The Solo with a gimbal and GoPro camera cost more than $1,700 when it was released, while the DJI Phantom 3 Professional package cost $1,300. The Phantom price was then slashed to $1,000 in 2016.

In 2016, you could say that the mass-market American-produced multirotor industry was executed. By 2021, we had reached peak consumer drone IMHO, with DJI setting the bar high with low-cost capable machines that can be produced by the thousands every day.

Any new American consumer drone manufacturer would need to bring something not yet invented to the table or have enough money to lobby Chinese companies out of the market first.

So, in answer to the question, yes, DJI is a Chinese company.

Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.