How the US vs China Trade War is Impacting DJI as Announcement Nears

DJI price increase due to tariffs
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GoPro can probably breathe a bit easier thanks to retaliatory tariffs being lobbed back and forth between the United States and China. The action camera company already moved late last year to transfer some production out of China to avoid the tariffs.

DJI? Not so much. If you take a glance at the DJI Smart Controller today, you’ll be greeted by a $100 price increase. Here’s a semi-official line we managed to snag from the customer service live chat:

“Due to the recent increase in tariffs, DJI has updated pricing for its products in the United States. We take many factors into account when recommending retail prices in different countries around the world, including tariff applications, tax rates, and currency exchange fluctuations. We follow all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate and will continue to work forward making drone and handheld products more accessible to the world while supporting the many existing customers that use DJI technology daily.”

It was already expensive at $649, but $749 is a problem if the company expects Mavic 2 owners to open their wallets for a dedicated display.

Those looking for a new camera drone? You’re in a better position with the combo including the Smart Controller still priced at $1899 for the Pro and $1649 for the Zoom. It’s not the first time DJI has raised prices during the trade war between the United States and China. Last year, battery prices, the Mavic 2 and the discontinued Phantom 4 lineup were all subjected to price upticks.

What does this mean for DJI’s announcement?

We may not know the pricing, but either DJI takes a hit on price, or the leaked Osmo Action needs to be revolutionary. Judging by leaked reviews, nothing screams revolutionary, but the few I’ve found are more into promoting ND filters for the action camera than extolling the features of the action camera.

Still, the video seen shows off EIS (electronic image stabilization) thanks to smooth footage function dubbed Rock Steady. Once you dive into the world of brandable features, you can forget mechanical stabilization. That’s a bit of a disappointment but expected due to the Osmo Pocket. DJI can’t have two products essentially targeting the same market.

The company also can’t have the trade war escalating any further. It has enjoyed dominance in the consumer market, but if tariffs keep pushing prices higher, the time would be ripe for another major player to enter the market. Sony does have a consumer camera drone patent.

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