Government-Owned Hikvision Wants To Keep Politics Out Of SecurityBy: John Honovich, Published on Oct 21, 2019
'Politics' made Hikvision the goliath it is today. It was PRC China 'politics' that created Hikvision, funded it, and blocked its foreign competitors.
However, Hikvision is now upset that 'politics', in the form of US sanctions for human rights abuses, is undermining their business.
Hikvision Protests Sanctions as Politics
Hikvision executives protested sanctions as American politics on their China investor's call:
Sanctions are more like American politicians...American politicians are more interested in sanctions
From the very top of Hikvision China to Hikvision USA staff members such objections are common, for example, this recent declaration to keep 'politics out of the security business':
Indeed, Hikvision has made the same objection to us repeatedly since 2015 when we first started reporting on their PRC China government ownership. Hikvision firmly believes politics has nothing to do with the security industry, except...
Happy For PRC China Politics
Hikvision has no problem with PRC politics. Let's keep in mind:
- The PRC government created Hikvision. Did Hikvision object? No.
- Hikvision's controlling shareholder is 'central state-owned' to this very day. Did Hikvision protest? No.
- The PRC government gave Hikvision $6 billion in loans. Did Hikvision refuse? No.
- Hikvision boasted about 'strong support from PRC government and[their] state-owned parent'. Did they want to keep politics out of security then? No.
- The PRC government made Hikvision's Chairman a member of the national government. Did Hikvision complain? No, Hikvision's Chairman is in charge.
- The PRC government said foreign-made video surveillance was a security risk. Did Hikvision rail against politics? Of course not.
- The PRC government prohibits or disadvantages foreign video surveillance in their mega city projects. Did Hikvision stand up against such politics? No, they made billions from it.
Hikvision is being hypocritical but that is not unique nor the most important issue here.
Politics Has Made Hikvision A Goliath
The problem is PRC China politics has made Hikvision a goliath, a company that is 7x as large as the largest Western manufacturer (Axis). Hikvision is so huge and so profitable from its enormous protected China business and human rights-abusing projects that it can disrupt the West with unprecedented sales spending and low prices.
No Escaping Politics for Anyone In Security Industry
Almost no one in the security industry wants to be involved in politics. But none of us have a choice. Hikvision and the PRC China government has made politics the core driving force of the entire industry.
Is Hikvision willing (or able) to take politics out of the China security business? Of course not.
The only choice for everyone else is whether we allow PRC China politics to dominate the entire global industry. You can choose yes to that but you need to realize you are making a political choice.
Hikvision Dealers Benefit From 'China' 'Politics'
And if you are a Hikvision dealer, you are benefiting from China 'politics':
Hikvision dealers benefit from Hikvision's government ownership, from its funding, from its massive resources and profits it amasses from blocking our foreign companies and winning massive human rights abusing projects.
And it is totally fair for Hikvision dealers to complain that US 'politics' hurts their profits from selling Hikvision so long as Hikvision dealers remember than China Communist Party 'politics' has benefited them greatly.
Everyone Needs To Deal With It
We all have to deal with politics, whether we like it or not. We need to stop making excuses or complaining about politics not being relevant.
We probably would all be better off without 'politics' in security but this is where we are. We need to figure out the best solution, accepting the reality of the situation.
Hikvision - Own Your Politics
And Hikvision needs to own its PRC China politics. It is certainly free (in the Western sense) to complain about US 'politics' but Hikvision is the industry's greatest beneficiary of politics. Only then can we fairly and appropriately assess what to do about politics in security.