Could DJI Subsidiary Hasselblad Medium Format be Affected by Russia/Ukraine War? DJI Drones and Sanctions
If you own or are contemplating Hasselblad medium format, this latest development might be of concern, if only for the future of your investment.
Hasselblad is majority-owned by DJI, a Chinese company which like all Chinese companies operates only with the continuing goodwill of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Whether or not Hasselblad is named in sanctions, as a majority-owned subsidiary of DJI it is only a legal construct that separates the two. Since DJI is apparently subject to sanctions, I’d be nervous about those extending to Hasselblad. As well as the way Hasselblad is at least 3 years behind Fujifilm.
I do not make US policy. Nor am I able to distinguish the (massive amount of) propaganda vs on-the-ground truth in this conflict. Make up your own mind as you see fit.
Figma, a fast-growing U.S. provider of vector graphics editing softwares, closed access to its services for the world’s leading drone maker, China’s DJI, on March 12, according to Chinese state-run media China Fund on March 13.
“We have learned that DJI is named in U.S. issued sanctions. As a result and in compliance with U.S. laws, Figma can no longer provide you with access to our software,” read the email...
DJI in Russia-Ukraine War
...On March 10, Volodymyr Shymanskyy, co-founder of Blynk IoT Platform, posted on Twitter that according to a Ukrainian forces working group, the Chinese company “limited the capabilities of its ‘Aeroscope’ technology for the Ukrainian army, giving a significant air reconnaissance edge to Russian invaders.”
However, the Aeroscope function was frequently turned off for Ukrainian operators, “while Russians have the technical capabilities to track Ukrainian DJI drone operators” in the recent conflict, Shymanskyy said. He said that the Russians were able to use DJI technology to kill Ukrainian drone operators, but Ukrainians couldn’t track the Russian operators.
Quickly, Adam Lisberg, DJI U.S. communication director, responded to the claims on Twitter confirming that DJI’s Aeroscope function wasn’t working properly in Ukraine recently. But he said the malfunctions “may be connected to prolonged loss of power/internet.”
...As a key player in the drone market in the United States, DJI was added to the foreign entity list by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Dec. 22, 2020. Companies on the list are believed to act “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Initially, the drone industry believed that the listing might be due to cybersecurity concerns. The Department of Commence didn’t list any threats related to cybersecurity, but mentioned two reasons for the companies’ listing: they were “enabling wide-scale human rights abuses within China” and “facilitated the export of items by China that aid repressive regimes around the world.”
DIGLLOYD: DJI has been neglecting Hasselblad. As a venerable name in photography, I’d like to see Hasselblad sold off to a camera company that could take the brand forward.
...“In 21 days of the war, Russian troops [have] already killed 100 Ukrainian children,” Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov wrote in a March 16 tweet. “They are using DJI products in order to navigate their missile[s].”
Headquartered in Shenzhen, DJI is one of the world’s largest drone manufacturers. Though its products are ostensibly designed for civilian use, they are used by militaries the world over.
Federov attached an open letter to DJI CEO Frank Wang, pleading that he halt business ties in Russia and place limits on the use of DJI drones in Ukraine.
...Federov said that Russian forces were using a version of DJI’s AeroScope technology to assist in its missile targeting.
... DJI issued a statement on Twitter saying that the technology could not be turned off and denied the report that it had altered the functionality of Ukrainian-based systems.
The company did state in its response that it could implement geofencing, effectively grounding any drones in the area that were connected to the internet, if the Ukrainian government formally requested it. But this would only apply to DJI drones in Urkaine.
DIGLLOYD: true of not, it’s a terrible look for DJI. And thus Hasselblad. You cannot buy publicity that bad.