Hikvision Chinese Government Origin And ControlBy: John Honovich, Published on Aug 29, 2016
Hikvision originated from a Chinese government research institute.
This is uncommon in the West but frequent in China (though Hikvision is the Chinese government's only controlled video surveillance manufacturer). 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 overseas marketing obscures their origin and downplays 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 the numerous research institutes. Later, it was promoted to a CETC 'listed' company, when the Chinese government listed Hikvision in the Shenzhen stock exchange.
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.
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.
Update: "Exert Significant Influence"
In an investor prospectus, Hikvision disclosed that the Chinese government, as their controlling shareholder:
will continue to be in a position to exert significant influence over our business and other matters of significance to us.
has substantial control over [Hikvision] and their interests may not be aligned with the interests of our other shareholders
may improperly control the significant business, finance and personnel of [Hikvision] by way of exercising the voting rights, which will damage the interests of [Hikvision] and its other shareholders.
This is from the investor prospectus p.33, the full paragraph below:
Not only does the Chinese government have such control, Hikvision also touts strong support from the Chinese (PRC) government as well acknowledging their 'state-owned parent' (CETC / CETHIK):
Contrary to Hikvision Marketing
To the contrary, Hikvision's overseas marketing has repeatedly portrayed Hikvision as a commercial entity simply with private and public shareholders (e.g., Security World: Hikvision responds to accusations of being a cyber security risk).
See how well you know the relationship between Hikvision and the Chinese government with this 5 question quiz.