SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. or Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd. in full, more popularly known as its trade name DJI which stands for Dà-Jiāng Innovations (Chinese: “great frontier innovation”), is a Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong with factories throughout the world. DJI is a world-leading manufacturer of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly known as “drones”) for aerial photography and videography. It also designs and manufactures camera gimbals, action cameras, camera stabilizers, flight platforms and propulsion systems and flight control systems.
DJI is the dominant market leader in the civilian drone industry, accounting for over 70 percent of the world’s drone market. Its camera drone technology has been used widely for the music, television and film industries. The company’s products have also been used by militaries and police forces.
The company was founded in 2006 by Frank Wang (Wāng Tāo).Wang, who went to Hong Kong in 2003 after enrolling for a degree course in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), was part of the HKUST team participating in ABU Robocon and won third prize.
Wang built the first prototypes of DJI’s projects in his dorm room, selling the flight control components to universities and Chinese electric companies. He used the proceeds to move to the industrial hub of Shenzhen and hired a small staff in 2006. The company struggled at first, with a high degree of churn among employees that has been attributed to Wang’s abrasive personality and perfectionist expectations of his employees. The company sold a modest amount of components during this period, relying as well on financial support from Wang’s family friend, Lu Di, who provided USD $90,000 and managed the company’s finances. In 2009, DJI’s components allowed a team to successfully pilot a drone around the peak of Mt. Everest.
In 2010, Wang hired a high school friend, Swift Xie Jia, to run the company’s marketing. DJI began to cater more to drone hobbyists in markets outside of China. In 2011, Wang met Colin Guinn at a trade show, and the two of them would found DJI North America, a subsidiary company focusing on mass market drone sales. In 2013, DJI released the first model of the Phantom drone, an entry-level drone which was significantly more user-friendly than any other drone on the market at the time. The Phantom was a worldwide commercial success, but this success led to conflict between Guinn and Wang. Midway through the year, Wang made an offer to buy Guinn out, which Guinn refused. By the end of the year, DJI had locked all employees of the North American subsidiary out of their email accounts and was well on its way to shutting down the subsidiary’s operations. Guinn sued DJI, and the case was settled out of court.
In 2015, DJI eclipsed the success of the Phantom with the release of the Phantom 3, whose even greater popularity was in part due to the addition of a built in live-streaming camera. DJI was now the largest consumer drone company in the world, driving many of its competitors out of the market over the following years. 2015 also marked the beginning of DJI’s RoboMaster Robotics Competition (Chinese), an annual international collegiate robot combat tournament held at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.
In 2017, DJI won a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for its camera drone technology, which was used in the filming of various television shows including The Amazing Race, American Ninja Warrior, Better Call Saul and Game of Thrones.That same year, Wang became Asia’s youngest tech billionaire.
2017 was also the year that DJI announced a plan to provide surveillance drones for use by the Chinese police in Xinjiang. In August, the United States Army published internal guidance banning the use of DJI products for security reasons, although as of 2019 other branches of the US military continue to use its products in a limited capacity. On 17 November 2017, Ars Technica reported a security breach of private customer data at DJI. The company denied the existence of such a breach, and subsequently added an offline mode that allows its drones to fly without transferring data over the internet.
On 5 June 2018, police body cam and Taser maker Axon announced a partnership with DJI to sell surveillance drones to U.S. police departments. As of 2020, DJI products are also widely used by American police and fire departments.
On 21 January 2019, DJI announced that an internal probe had uncovered “extensive” fraud by certain employees who “inflated the costs of parts and materials for certain products for personal financial gain.” DJI estimated the cost of the fraud at “up to RMB 1 billion” (US$147 million), but maintained that the company “did not incur a full year loss in 2018.”
In January 2020, the United States Department of the Interior announced that it would be grounding around 800 drones, which it had been using for wildlife conservation and infrastructure monitoring purposes. As of March 2020, DJI holds nearly 77% of the US market share for consumer drones, with no other company holding more than 4%.
DJI is known for having a very difficult hiring process, as well as an extremely competitive internal culture. Teams are often pitted against each other to design better products.
DJI’s factories in Shenzhen include highly sophisticated automated assembly lines, including portions where drones under construction “take off on their own by the hundreds, performing a series of maneuvers over the course of two minutes, then land and continue moving down the manufacturing line”. Many of the components for these assembly lines are built in-house.
Source : wikipedia