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Photo by Xray40000, via Flickr.
A DJI Phantom Drone. Photo by Xray40000, via Flickr.

DJI, a Chinese-based company that makes and sells drones, will open its first “authorized retailer” in Washington state at the Marketplace @ Factoria mall in Bellevue, Wash. this week.

The store will let people try out DJI’s personal and professional drones and teach customers about their various uses. A grand opening of the new store is set for Saturday, and the festivities will include demonstrations of its Phantom and Mavic drone series, and the Osmo stabilization gimbal series.

However, DJI noted in its opening announcement that drone flights are not allowed outside Factoria mall. Recreational users are not allowed to fly drones within 25 feet of another person, and the unmanned aircrafts are not allowed in Bellevue parks, per city rules.

Inside the new DJI store. (DJI Photo)
Inside the new DJI store in Bellevue, Wash. (DJI Photo)

DJI calls itself the leading maker of drones, and its products were already available through a variety of retailers, including Apple Stores, Best Buy locations and camera stores throughout Washington. According to the company’s website, there are other DJI authorized retailers in the U.S. These are different from company stores, which are located in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Seoul.

[Update: DJI says the store will be owned and operated by YITA LLC, one of its North American dealers.]

Companies like DJI are cashing in on the rapidly growing drone industry, which PwC said in May is valued at $127 billion. The industry has the potential to bring great change to infrastructure, agriculture, entertainment and transportation.

DJI is based in the high-tech manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, and it has grown to employ more than 3,000 people. It has a U.S. office in Los Angeles, as well as offices in Beijing, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Korea.

Government agencies have been grappling with how to regulate the industry, as businesses like Amazon seek to take advantage of the technology for package delivery. In June, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a series of rules for commercial drone operators that may prove to be a setback to Amazon’s effort, though individual businesses can get waivers for some of the regulations.

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