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Drone maker DJI allays American concerns about safety of products

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-22 09:09
DJI drones are displayed during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the United States, on Jan 9. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese drone manufacturer DJI said safety is at the core of everything the company does, and the security of its technology has been independently verified by the United States government and leading US businesses.

The company's statement came in response to an alert issued by the US Department of Homeland Security, which said Chinese-made drones may be sending sensitive flight data back to their manufacturers in China, and the same can be accessed by the government there.

"We give all customers full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored and transmitted. For government and critical infrastructure customers that require additional assurances, we provide drones that do not transfer data to DJI or via the internet, and our customers can enable all the precautions DHS recommends," the Shenzhen-based company said.

DJI emphasized it is committed to continuously working with customers and industry and government stakeholders to ensure its technology adheres to requirements.

"Every day, American businesses, first responders, and US government agencies trust DJI drones to help save lives, promote worker safety, and support vital operations, and we take that responsibility very seriously," the company said.

According to a report by CNN, the alert from DHS states the Chinese-made drones are a "potential risk to an organization's information", adding that the products "contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed beyond the company itself."

The report does not name any specific manufacturers, but nearly 80 percent of the drones in the US and Canada are made by Shenzhen-based DJI, the world's largest commercial drone maker, according to a study from Skylogic Research.

The warning from DHS follows an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump that is expected to bar US companies from buying Huawei Technologies Co's goods and services.

"The drone industry in the US is highly dependent on DJI, and the US authority's alert on Chinese drone makers is entirely groundless," said Yang Jincai, director of Shenzhen Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Industry Association.

Yang noted that DJI attaches great importance to information security, and the data storage and transmission is mastered by users, adding the US alert may hurt drone enthusiasts and US companies and professional organizations that increasingly rely on Chinese-made drones.

Founded in 2006, DJI accounts for almost 70 percent of the consumer drone market worldwide, with Europe and North America its biggest customers. It is ramping up efforts to expand its product portfolio.

The company reported 17.57 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) in revenue in 2017, up 80 percent from a year earlier, and about 80 percent of the revenue came from the overseas market.

At present, drones are used for aerial photography, agriculture, geological surveys and mapping, electricity, oil and petroleum pipeline inspection, transportation, construction, public security and even disaster relief.

The global market revenue for drones is expected to surpass $11.2 billion by 2020, according to a report by market research company Gartner Inc.

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