DJI added to Commerce Department ‘entity list’

Following numerous reports that the U.S. government was seeking to crack down on DJI, the Department of Commerce today will be adding the drone giant to its “Entity List.” The decision is set to officially go into effect at around 11AM ET this morning, when the list is officially released. Reuters and Drone DJ have issued early reporting based on a conference call with a state official.

The news comes as a pretty massive blow to DJI. The 14-year-old Chinese company has been an utterly dominant force in the drone category. Here in the States, it commands an estimated 77% of the market.

Increased tensions between the U.S. and China have long been a looming concern for DJI’s presence in the States, with surveillance capabilities being a particular sticking point. Along with their wildly successful consumer drones, DJI also has a wide reach in both industrial and governmental applications. In fact, the company specifically offers a government line of products as part of its enterprise offerings.

DJI is one of dozens of companies added to the list. Also of note is chipmaker, SMIC. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross singled the chipmaker out in a press release this morning, stating, “we will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary.”

The DOC notably placed Huawei and several of its affiliates to the list last year, a move that has severely hamstrung the hardware giant. Among other things, it’s cut off the company’s access from key U.S. technologies like Google’s Android and other software. Huawei has opted to develop its own operating system, but the landing has been a difficult one to stick.

There’s been a good deal of talk around restricting use of the company’s technology by federal and state departments, but this update could prove even more sweeping. DJI has been bracing for this manner of revelation over the past year and chance. The drone maker has spent a lot of time and resources lobby on Capitol Hill. There’s been a good deal of speculation around the shape these bans will take after a new President is sworn in on January 20.

We’ve reached out to both DJI and the DOC and will update accordingly.

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