How Hikvision Beats Its OEMs

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Dec 08, 2016

Hikvision GM declared that they are not aggressive with their competitors.

But some of their own OEM partners disagree.

Inside, we reveal a key tactic Hikvision uses to beat its OEM partners.

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Comments (32)

I wonder if the numbering scheme can be reverse-engineered to give any additional data about imager, SoC, etc.

The boards containing imagers all look to be DS-261xx parts. The last 2 digits may specify details (manufacturer, etc.) about the components used.

This info could also help people figure out the root manufacturer of various brands encountered in the wild.

I wonder if the numbering scheme

I assume the numbering scheme has an order / logic to it but we have not found any guide to it. If anyone out there knows, please share.

I can confirm. We were OEM partners and they went directly to our customer. To do it they also take one of our employees. Not so fair...

The best solution to this question for OEM's (My Company is one), is to be upfront about the relationship and make your product a solution sale as opposed to a widget sale. By not acknowledging that your product is OEM'ed you come off looking like a liar.

Companies sell Cameras, NVR's, Switches, Software, and Access Control, but rarely do they sell all of them in one package. You will lose some of the widget business but focusing on the full package is a better strategy.

is to be upfront about the relationship

And that's why you are using undisclosed ;)

In all seriousness, I do think there is value in that especially if you have other parts that are your own.

Wouldn't bundling of disparate systems be the job of the integrator you are selling to? Essentially, the commoditization is just shifting from you as the distributor to the integrators who sell your product in that scenario.

#5, that's an insightful comment, well said. I agree. It's something I'll add for future posts / discussions.

I thought it was going to be with one of these:

Can't this be hurting hikvision branded sales too? Most OEMs sell at a far lower price than Hikvision's branded versions( USA Hikvision ) and some OEMs provide much more responsive technical support with the same 3 year warranty. So if the cheaper OEM cameras are actually the same but cheaper why buy Hikvision branded cameras?

With that said, the harder thing to me to figure out is that just because Hikvision has their part numbers on PWBs that doesn't mean other internals are different between one OEM to another or Hikvision USA version. So one OEM says "it's this hikvision" camera but it's hard to know for sure. Just like Hikvision WR USA cameras use different components than the Chinese versions.

Most OEMs sell at a far lower price than Hikvision's branded versions( USA Hikvision ) and some OEMs provide much more responsive technical support with the same 3 year warranty.

Which ones specifically? LTS is the one most commonly cited but they have big tradeoffs compared to Hikvision, limited marketing, no field sales people, no field engineers, limited product portfolio compared to Hikvision. That's not meant to be a criticism of LTS, because their big plus is price but there are clear tradeoffs between the two.

LTS is the biggest one to site. They don't have the field support that hikvision might but their customer support and tech support in my experience has been hands down better. Purchasing products is easier on a daily basis and RMA issues are handled much quicker, especially without the distributor middlemen you have to go through dealing with Hikvision directly. There are plenty of other smaller distributors that sell white labeled Hikvision cameras as well. Look at ADIs brand and their prices as just another example.

The thing I notice is that some end consumers are getting tired of companies calling themselves manufacturers when in reality they are white labeling Dahua or Hikvision cameras. They feel like they are being mislead if they realize or find out later that some OEM is actually just a Hikvision relabeled or worse they need help and they don't know who to go to because their integrator is no longer in business and they don't know what channel their camera was delivered through. This to me is a reason many end up purchasing Hikvision branded vs any other OEM. We get this request even when we offer cheaper OEM alternatives all the time.

We get this request even when we offer cheaper OEM alternatives all the time.

#3 I agree about that. There's many advantages of buying direct from the manufacturer, so long as the manufacturer directly supports and sells in one's region (which certainly Hikvision does now). We have made that point numerously in the past, e.g., Beware Phony Manufacturers.

This post was covering the OEM perspective and how their partner actively sells against them.

I don't doubt that Hik did or would use such a tactic; its just that I can't see why it helps much.

So when you say 'customer', I'm assuming you mean 'large end-user'?

Big enough that Hik is willing to spend some time trying to sell them direct, right?

And that as proof, the customer's WHik (White labeled Hik) is opened, and they can see the DS part number of the equivalent Hik. While this might be convincing, would it really be less convincing to open up the equivalent Hik model at the same time and compare the boards?

Wouldn't they look the exact same anyway, even if the DS prefix was missing?

Would it really be less convincing to open up the equivalent Hik model at the same time and compare the boards?

Wouldn't they look the exact same anyway, even if the DS prefix was missing?

I think most people would be more convinced by the branding than trying to show that the boards look the same. There's lots of small parts on a board and people could wonder if they truly were the same and even if they looked the same, whether they were identical. The branding on it is harder to fake / be skeptical of because why would a Western brand accidentally have the same component number as a China company?

Of course, Hikvision could also back this up by comparing the web interface, the OUI of the MAC address, etc.

Related, don't Dahua Analog HD cameras have a big Dahua branded SOC on them? I wonder if OEM product does as well?

Unless that is an Axis camera board (which isn't exactly the best example in that case), then Axis Communications is more blatant with its name printed right there on the board.

Axis Communications is more blatant

Axis business is branded, so 'blatant' does not apply here. It's a brand on their own product, sold under their own name.

Okay, so that means that this isn't a comparison. You were pointing out OEMs sabotaging their dealers. If no one OEMs Axis in the first place, this generally doesn't apply to them.

In that case, Axis should be left out of this discussion unless they have someone OEMs them and they've done a good job of hiding the fact. Generally, I'm confused about this article.

First, you're pointing out Hikvision is being their usual backstabby selves. That's par for the course, but then you bring all of these pictures in as if they were all products of an OEM nature. I don't see how this was apples to apple, especially with this statement: "By contrast, non Hikvision OEMs do not have this numbering."

Grammatically, this would imply that they are still OEMs, just not by Hikvision. If they were both non-Hik and non-OEM, then they need to be qualified as such separately to be clear.

Axis should be left out of this discussion

Axis, Dahua and Longse were shown to prove the point that these are not generic markings on all sorts of cameras.

Grammatically, this would imply that they are still OEMs

No, I changed it to "manufacturers who do not OEM Hikvision" if that helps. The point of this article, as the title and lead says, is about Hikvision's business practices based on the model numbering, not whether Axis, Dahua or Longse have ever OEMed from anyone, but simply that those companies do not OEM from Hikvision and the lack of component model numbers shows it.

See, that's better.

However, if we were trying to get a full apples to apples thing going in, why not grab some Flir/Lorex/Q-See/Amcrest ones, and show them side by side with similar Dahua models to see if there's some telltale giveaways like Hikvision does?

Then we can check the Dynacolor, Vivotek, Vitek, and other OEMs, based on what we find with shipping info.

This all ties into the physical breakdowns and shipping information breakdowns to see everything actually being compared on a chip by chip basis.

Robert, if you are so interested, help us. Pop open a Savvytech camera and tell us if you see any internal markings that match up with Dahua's.

We have heard many many complaints from Dahua's OEM but not the internal part number. That may be true as well and you can quickly confirm this.

Well, our cameras are completely unmodified Dahuas, just without logos. The real test comes when companies have more to lose by being exposed as being manufactured by a different company.

For us, we sell Dahua, but we try to be a more effective interface to the product than other channels.

However, I'll start digging around whatever RMAs I actually have around and I'll get you some pix.

Are you openly telling your customers that its Dahua products but just the OEM version. If so, why not just sell the branded? Cost more?

Yes and we also do what you do: brand the products for small customers trying to get their own marketing out there.

The reality is this unfortunately this comes down to ethics in business and some companies cannot help themselves because it becomes ingrained as a culture (not meaning to cast aspersions to all being the same) . When employees are driven by deliver unrealistic expectations or be fired they become desperate and it works its way back up and down the food chain.

The difference also is some actually believe that this is a normal course of business. This is not the first industry to have Asian companies decimate an industry with unscrupulous practices. The US government at the highest level has reprimanded the Chinese for dumping and unethical business practices designed to capture the market, which are geared to destroy any competition even if they have to lose money. While you can say isn't this the goal of every business, the answer is yes. What becomes unfair is when you have an endless pocket of government subsidy standing behind you fueling the fire. Look at the steel industry or solar panels to name a couple which obviously dwarf the security industry.

So the model is you as the OEM validate the market for Hikvision, develop the channel and the customer and then they swoop in and grab the gravy after all the hard work and expense is done. This is nothing unique and should not surprise anyone as it is the same history all over again.

No one should fool themselves into thinking being open with the customer in a competitive market is going to work when everyone is fighting for a point. They will at least if you are providing value added hold you accountable if not hold you hostage by pointing to the prices which he can get from a more than willing manufacturer who sells to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The market and the industry has become too transparent with sophisticated products that are already a commodity and requiring an advanced level of support. This does not bode well in the long term.

How long before the distribution channels suffer the same fate as the OEMs; my guess is not long. Having hired 100s of people in the US I would suspect there is a grander plan.

I will say, its a whole lot easier than taking cameras apart to find out who the manufacturer. Namely:

- look at the housings, do they look the same as the branded version?
- do they work on the same computer software as the branded version?
- Do they work on the same cell app as the branded version?

Working on the same apps does not work anymore. Since Hikvision has become dominant in the market many companies have already mimicked their protocol and auto-detect their own OEM cameras as a Hikvision device. So you find cameras now with ONVIF and Hikvision as easily detectable.

On the flip side, I've heard from one large distributor/OEM who said they have removed components around things like app/P2P functions because they felt the functionality supplied by the OEM was not safe or up to their standards. So in that case, the cameras would not work with the mobile app of the OEM supplier.

I have noticed that Flir changes some default Dahua settings, like port number 35000 instead of 37777. Some models also don't default to 192.168.1.108/24. I haven't seen the same from Hik OEMs though.

Ever tried connecting a OEM camera to the ONVIF device manager? I would not be surprises that it also shows the manufacturers name and type number. So dismanteling would not be necessary. Just give it a try.

About Dahua. When they entered our local market they also continuously approached us for OEM. This were not the local people but the overseas people who also joined the locals at exhibitions. So even overseas and local people are competing. For Hikvision it's exactly the same. Unbelievable!

This were not the local people but the overseas people who also joined the locals at exhibitions. So even overseas and local people are competing.

We have heard the same pattern in the US. It is a fascinating dynamic to see employees of the same company fight for business.

OEM cameras that I've seen have all reported the name on the camera, not Hikvision.

For example, here's a W Box 2MP:

Same has been true of LTS, Northern, and others.

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