Hikvision Chairman Joins China National Government (NPC)By: John Honovich, Published on Mar 13, 2018
Hikvision Chairman and Communist Party Secretary Chen Zongnian has joined the People's Republic of China's government - the National People's Congress. This is a first for a video surveillance manufacturer from any country though Hikvision is owned by the Chinese government.
Below, on the left, is Hikvision's Chairman and, on the right, China's Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. Note: both are NPC delegates wearing the official red badge:
Hikvision's Chairman is now a member of the same National Congress that Xi Jinping, China's Paramount leader is:
Indeed, Hikvision's Chairman has been on a Chinese media tour, including an interview with Chinese government's newspaper, Xinhua, and many others (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4).
Hikvision's Own Profile
Chen has been leading Hikvision from the beginning when the Chinese government founded Hikvision, as the 52nd Institute. He is described in Hikvision's 2016 financial report:
Hikvision And The China Communist Party
This may be considered a promotion for Chen, as he has been Hikvision / CETHIK's Communist Party Secretary for some time, as this photo of Hikvision's Chairman Chen and his #2 Hu Yangzhou at a 2015 Communist Party meeting show:
At that same time, Hikvision's own Chinese website shared Chen declaring their allegiance to the Party:
"Every party member must consciously accept the [Communist] party's leadership, effectively strengthening the party's leadership, strengthen the Party's vitality, comply with party discipline.... All Party members united as one, as "personal dream", "Hikvision Dream", "China Dream" and efforts!" [emphasis added]
Hikvision Chen Joining National People's Congress
Hikvision's Chen joins the National People's Congress (NPC), the legislature of the PRC's government. The NPC is roughly equivalent to the UK Parliament or the US Congress if those Western legislatures were only selected by Communist Party members, rather than the general population.
NPC Ratifying Xi Jinping / Power For Hikvision
The NPC just removed term limits with a 99.8% vote. Xi Jinping is now poised to rule indefinitely, 'president for life'. This is a very positive move for Hikvision, who has a strong relationship with China's paramount leader, back to when Xi was Party Secretary of Zhejiang province (Hikvision's home) in the 2000s.
Maintains All Positions
Chen will simultaneously be a member of the National People's Congress, Communist Party Secretary and Chairman of Hikvision. While this is atypical in the West where fears or laws against conflict of interest would block that, the PRC works differently. This is not a first, e.g., Hikvision's VP of R&D simultaneously works for the Ministry of Public Security. This is great for Hikvision as it will expand their already formidable influence in Beijing.
Hikvision has come under Western criticism for its Chinese government ownership, most notably in a 2017 WSJ investigation and a 2016 London Times report. However, Hikvision continues to aggressively expand its Western sales and marketing expenditures.
For a technology manufacturer executive to become a member of country's government, is atypical to say the least, and unprecedented in video surveillance. With video surveillance becoming more critical (as both AI and privacy concerns grow) and the PRC government's relationship with Western countries become more strained, Hikvision's Chairman government position will certainly strengthen Hikvision's domestic position but could cause more concern with Western governments.