Global drone maker DJI has become the first Chinese company to openly cease operations in Russia and Ukraine, citing “current hostilities” as its reason for doing so.
In a statement posted on Tuesday, the Shenzhen-based firm said it is “internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions” and would thus “temporarily suspend all business activities” in both countries.
Ride-sharing giant Didi was reportedly the first Chinese company to announce a Russian exit, but it backpedaled days later without explanation.
Ahead of its announcement, DJI, which is currently the world’s top drone manufacturer, has been accused by Ukrainian authorities of helping Russia wage its war.
In an open letter published last month, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov urged DJI founder and CEO Frank Wang to exit Russia because it was “using DJI products in order to navigate their missile [sic].”
Others also questioned reported failures of DJI’s AeroScope system in revealing the locations of Russian drones and their pilots, raising suspicions that the remote ID program was being deliberately tampered with.
DJI has rejected these allegations, maintaining that its products are not designed for military use and denying any intentional decisions to downgrade AeroScope in Ukraine. Additionally, the company offered geofencing to block all DJI drones from entering Ukraine.
In a separate statement on Wednesday, a DJI spokesperson said their decision to halt business with Russia and Ukraine was “not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles.”
“DJI abhors any use of our drones to cause harm, and we are temporarily suspending sales in these countries in order to help ensure no one uses our drones in combat,” the spokesperson said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation,” enters its ninth week today. DJI said it is now “engaging with customers, partners and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension of business operations in the affected territories.”