US politician’s bias against DJI stems from political calculation
Published: Oct 20, 2021 09:06 PM
US DJI Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/Global Times

Out of self-interested political calculation, an anti-China American politician on Tuesday called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose new restrictions on China-based drone maker DJI, one of the most successful Chinese technology companies which are eyesores of Washington.

The FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement that the telecommunications regulator should commence the process of adding DJI to the FCC's so-called Covered List which would prohibit federal Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars from being used to purchase the company's equipment.

According to FCC, USF "operated as a mechanism by which interstate long distance carriers were assessed to subsidize telephone service to low-income households and high-cost areas."

The so-called security risks, cited by Carr, are baseless. The drone maker has encountered multiple rounds of ill-intended crackdowns in the US. Last December, the US Commerce Department announced to put DJI on its entity list, cutting off American supplies to the company.

However, the impact on DJI appears to be limited, and so will the latest threat of new restrictions. After being blacklisted by the US Commerce Department, the drone maker replied that "customers in America can continue to buy and use DJI products normally." 

Apparently, the anti-China politicians in Washington have been using the topic to advance their own political interests. Their thinking reveals a skewed confrontational mindset of the politicians which blocks normal cooperation between businesses of the two countries.

In fact, whether it is DJI or other Chinese technology companies, the US crackdown is having a diminishing effect. Of the global drone market, DJI now accounts for over 70 percent of the total market share, and more than 50 percent of drone sales in the US. 

Huawei, another Chinese technology giant, has also endured the US government's crackdown for years. The company has stepped up efforts to realize core technology independence, and is making forays to new business lines, such as smarter ports, data centers, intelligent mining and 5G-enabled electric vehicle navigational system. 

Chinese technology firms and their products have been growing despite external pressures, from space technology to 5G high-speed mobile networks. Moreover, China has sufficient tool kit to cope with vicious outside attacks and protect the legitimate interest of its businesses. 

China in June also passed the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to counter bullies. In line with international law and the basic norms governing international relations, the law offers legal tools to protect Chinese businesses. 

As a matter of fact, confrontation is the worst path for bilateral corporate relations between the two countries. Many American companies want to cooperate with their Chinese counterparts to make the most out of China's huge market. 

The article was compiled based on an interview with Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst.