Hikvision originated from a Chinese government research institute.
This is uncommon in the West but frequent in China. Hikvision was founded from the Chinese government's "No. 52 Research Institute", one of dozens of research institutes that the Chinese government has founded in various electronics / technology domains.
Indeed, to this day, as financial records show, the Chinese government remains the 'controlling shareholder' of Hikvision. By contrast, Hikvision's PR organization obscures their origin and downplays the government ownership as just one of many 'shareholders' rather than the controlling one it is.
The Chinese government division that founded Hikvision is the China Electronic Technology Corporation Group (CETC), which they explain "is made up of 58 member units and 8 listed companies." Originally, Hikvision was one of the member units, as one of numerous research institutes. Later, it was promoted to a CETC 'listed' company, when the Chinese government listed Hikvision in the Shenzhen stock exchange.
Connection Government / 52nd / Hikvision
The Hikvision 2015 annual report (p. 62) makes clear the connection, explaining that Hikvision's chairman is a Communist Party Secretary:
Chen currently serves as the head of 52nd Institute, the chairman and the Communist Party secretary of China Electronics Technology HIK Group Co., Ltd. (中电海康集团, CETHIK) and chairman of the Company [Hikvision]
Hikvision Government Ownership and Control
However, Hikvision obscures their origin and ownership by stating:
42% of the company is jointly owned by CETHIK Group and CETG No. 52 Research Institute, both are state-owned enterprises.
Knowing Hikvision's origin makes clear the reference to CETG No. 52, the government research institute that founded Hikvision. Also, CETHIK, as the chairman's description above indicates, is another division within the government-run China Electronic Technology group that oversees 'HIK' / Hikvision.
Controlling Shareholder - China Government
Most importantly, Hikvision's own financial report (p. 56) confirms that they are still, to this day, controlled by the Chinese government through CETC:
Foundation / Ownership / Funding
Hikvision has been a division of the Chinese government from the beginning. They have evolved over time, including the new $6 billion of government funding, but their origin reflects their continued reality as a division of the Chinese government.
See how well you know the relationship between Hikvision and the Chinese government with this 5 question quiz.
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