Chinese drone maker DJI suspends operations in Russia, Ukraine amid controversy over use of its products in battle
- Few Chinese tech companies have publicly announced a suspension of business with Russia, partly because Beijing opposes sanctions against Moscow
- A DJI spokesman was quoted as saying the suspension was ‘not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles’
Chinese drone maker DJI Technology Co said it will temporarily suspend all business activities in Russia and Ukraine, becoming the first Chinese technology company to halt Russian business activities since the Ukraine war began in late February.
The Shenzhen-based company said in a short statement on its website on Tuesday that the decision was made after an internal assessment of “compliance requirements in various jurisdictions”.
The world’s leading drone manufacturer has found itself under intense scrutiny after accusations emerged that its products were being used by the Russian military in Ukraine. DJI issued a statement a week earlier that its products were designed to “improve people’s lives” and “for civilian use” only.
Few Chinese tech companies have publicly announced a suspension of business with Russia, partly because the Chinese government holds an official stance that opposes sanctions against Moscow.
“The decision was prompted by the possible shutdown of [DJI] sales as a result of secondary sanctions by other markets, primarily EU countries,” said Igor Denisov, senior research fellow, the Institute for International Studies at Russia’s MGIMO University.
“Apparently, it is not meant as a complete and final withdrawal from the Russian and Ukrainian markets, but a temporary suspension of business during the hot phase of the conflict,” Denisov said. “This line of behaviour may be followed by other Chinese companies that sell dual-use equipment.”
A DJI spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying the suspension of business in Russia and Ukraine was “not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles”.
DJI did not immediately reply to requests for further comment.
In last week’s statement, DJI said it “does not market or sell our products for military use” and “has unequivocally opposed attempts to attach weapons to our products”.