DJI Job Cuts: Realignment or Just Trimming Down?

Recent reports of DJI job cuts leave it unclear if the company is going through a major realignment in view of political pressures – or just trimming it’s staff a bit to manageable levels after several years of fast expansion.

A Reuters report says that the world’s largest manufacturer, DJI, started job layoffs in March, primarily affecting sales and marketing personnel.  The Reuters article says that its sources were former and current DJI employees.  The article claims that DJI trimmed about 50 people in it’s Shenzhen sales and marketing team, and shut down most of it’s 40-50 person filming team.

100 or more layoffs could be significant – or not.  The Reuters article admits that DJI disputes the numbers, saying the figures don’t account for new hires and transfers. In the context of a 14,000 person workforce, 100 or more positions don’t represent a major percentage.

Reuters indicates that the DJI job cuts indicate a more significant shift back towards its Chinese headquarters.   DJI has faced rumors like these before.  A few months ago, however, a DJI spokesperson unequivocally told DRONELIFE that rumors that the company was cutting down its U.S. presence were untrue.  That would still seem to be the case, as most of the layoffs reported in the article were in the Shenzhen office or in South Korea.

Certainly, DJI and other Chinese tech companies are facing political headwinds in the U.S. (see our 2 part in-depth series on a move by regulators to ban Chinese drones.)  Mario Rebello, the high profile former VP for North America, left earlier this year amidst rumors of arguments with the central office.  Competitors trying to take some of DJI’s estimated 70% market share are rapidly appearing on the drone industry scene.

Politics and competition aside, however, DJI is still a private company started a short 14 years ago by a college student, one that has experienced explosive growth. Other high growth startups seem to go through senior executives at a rapid rate; they realign their work force and shift offices and company mission statements almost monthly.

The future – for every business – is unknown.  But despite dire headlines, DJI still has a major market share across the globe – and give or take 100, 200, or even 300 staff members; about 14,000 employees dedicated to keeping it going.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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