DJI’s success proves China is no technology thief

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/25 21:03:40

Chinese manufacturer DJI, the global leader in civilian drones, said Monday it plans to transform a company warehouse in California into a production line. Mainstream US media soon focused on alleged security concerns over DJI. But do they genuinely believe what they claim? 

DJI's flying machines "could send sensitive surveillance data back to China," The New York Times commented Monday. But such unfounded accusations can hardly disguise the fact that the US is actually more anxious about something else - its growing reliance on an increasing number of Chinese high-tech products. This is a slap in the face for Washington, which often criticizes Beijing for "stealing" its technologies or "forcing" foreign companies to transfer technologies.

DJI, referred to as the "Apple" of the drone industry, is the latest US target after Huawei. It has no decent competitor. US companies 3D Robotics and GoPro were rivals, but both withdrew from the consumer market due to the fierce competition.

The US is trapped in an outdated mind-set which insists that China seeks to acquire technologies and intellectual property (IP) through theft. But how can it explain DJI's success? How can any company sweep aside all its rivals by stealing? 

Thanks to the emerging innovation in the Chinese technological field, the US feels uncomfortable now. As DJI overturned Washington's previous denunciation against Beijing over IP theft, the US can only look for other cards to play - hyping up security concerns. The disputes over DJI and Huawei are typical. 

There are other blunt efforts too, such as pondering bills to make it harder for US transit systems to buy trains and buses from Chinese companies like BYD. 

But even if Washington wants to place blocks on DJI or BYD, it should ask its people if they will side with their government. It is no exaggeration that Americans love DJI the most. 

As of press time, DJI has 4.6 million "likes" on its Facebook account and 1.3 million fans on Twitter. DJI drones are used to shoot scenes in many US TV series and movies, including Game of Thrones. The US military loves it. The use of DJI drones was banned in the US army in 2017, yet the US Air Force still wanted to procure DJI's Mavic Pro Platinum drones in 2018 because no alternative measured up. The security of its technology has been verified multiple times. 

Neither can BYD be easily replaced. Its electric bus factory in California is expected to create 1,200 jobs and it is transforming the local transportation industry. 

More Chinese companies are gaining popularity in the US, despite Washington's attempts to discredit them. Many US companies operate in China. This in-depth collaboration must exist for a reason. 

The issue of IP protection should no longer be a concern. A large number of innovation-driven Chinese firms are playing a leading role in different industries with no need to steal technologies. DJI's production line in the US is perhaps the best way to respond to the suspicion, so now the US can watch closely how Chinese companies "usurp" US high technology. 

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