#1 Video Surveillance Company in the World???

By John Honovich, Published Sep 08, 2013, 12:00am EDT

Hikvision says they are the #1 video surveillance company in the world, and they want to make sure you know that. Indeed, they tout that:

"FACTS PROVE OUR EXCELLENCE."

But are they really #1 and in what way are they #1? In this note, we debunk the tricks involved.

Here's the ad Hikvision is running:

It is a compact form of the promotional mailer they sent out in June 2013 talking about their 'domination'.

Breaking It Down

Here is what is going on:

  • Hikvision overall 2012 revenue is $1.16 Billion which is a lot of money for the video surveillance market.
  • But Hikvision is generating significant revenue from installation / integration for China's unprecedented massive city spy systems. In this sense, Hikvision is part manufacturer and part integrator (like ADT). Factoring install / integrator revenue is misleading (and supposedly against IMS rules). Else, ADT should claim it's #1, etc.
  • Also, Hikvision has a sizeable OEM business where they make products for Western brands. According to IMS own rules, this should be deducted, whether it is or is not.
  • Hikvision, by its own admission, is doing over 80% of its revenue in China (city systems, etc.).
  • A big factor in Hikvision's massive revenue is that it is heavily owned by government controlled Chinese banks. Hikvision has a massive advantage, regardless of technology or product excellence.

Hikvision may be #1, specifically in total global sales, but IMS, and hardly anyone else, is ranking them #1 in 'excellence' or overall in surveillance.

The facts show that Hikvision has excelled at being a dominant Chinese government partner, fueling their massive sales growth and position.

That said, kudos to Hikvision, who has learned well from Western manufacturers about how to spin sales rankings into validation of overall quality. As others recently noted, IMS has become a great marketing tool for manufacturers.

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