Sad that they don't understand that the real story will carry them further than the doctored one.
If there is anything that can hurt a company of this size and accomplishments, it's getting greedy and spinning the details. Just own it. Yes, you're owned by the Chinese government, a command-and-control economy that literally picks the winners and losers...but you've still built millions of cameras to be deployed at major sites around the world.
Seeming to be ashamed about your origins destroys those credentials.
The point is only that before we simply condemn Hikvision, we should consider that the U.S. also engages in forms of sponsorship and protectionism.
and this is the point I keep bringing up about this whole Hik thing.. most countries support their major industries, Aus has thrown millions at farmers and at our now dead car industry, Europe has done similar... as you have put, this is really nothing new, I love the bit about "where did they learn it" classic.
The only evidence you provide to counter Hikvision obscuring their Chinese state ownership is a member who said they talked to a Hikvision rep directly (a salesperson but not clear if it was a direct employee or rep firm).
In Hikvision's official 'overseas' marketing / PR / communication, Hikvision government ownership and government massive projects are almost always omitted.
Note: I redacted your claim about a specific Hikvision's director's comments, because you provided no evidence of any such comments. If you have evidence, I welcome you to post it specifically in response.
John, maybe it is time for you to hire someone who can actually read Chinese and do some basic Googling around. First of all, the ownership structure of Hikvision has never been a secret in China. Anyone with internet access who can read thousands of various Chinese financial websites can find who owns what when it comes to Hikvision. Here is an example, of course it is in Chinese:http://stockpage.10jqka.com.cn/002415/holder/
It lists CETHIK as the biggest shareholder, CETHIK is a Chinese government holding company with Hikvision as one of its biggest holdings. Here is CETHIK's website: http://www.cethik.com/about.aspx?c_kind=6&c_kind2=27
The second largest shareholder is a well known Chinese VC who happens to be a college classmate of a bunch of Hikvision senior management team. He seeded Hikvision with $250,000 back in 2001, needless to say this is now worth billions.
Other top holders of Hikvision shares are well know Western banks such as Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas, again, for people in the investment world, it isn't news that Hikvision is majority owned by one of Chinese local government entities.
So is Hikvision hiding something? Not if you can read Chinese. For those of you who are more conspiracy minded, I suppose a Chinese company listed on a Chinese stock exchange not publicizing their ownership structure in English must be high crimes.
Of course, to take things to the extreme, if we are going to require manufacturers to list all of their ownership structure as part of their marketing, then companies like 3VR should list CIA as a major shareholder as well, because In-Q-Tel, the "VC" firm controlled by the CIA is a major investor in 3VR. Or we can go on and on about relationships between companies such as Nice Systems, Verint and the government of Israel.
If you think Hikvision is intentionally hiding EZVIZ, then same can be asked why Google choose not to loudly disclose their ownership of Nest Cam (formerly Dropcam) on Nest Cam's website, instead only showing Nest Labs instead. Would you be accusing Google trying to hide something or perhaps Nest is a different enough product their don't want to associate with the Google branding? Seems like a rational marketing decision to me.
How about unfair to those domestic carmakers playing by the rules? Worse, it was unfair to the bondholders.
Yes it was.
Of course this is my point, the bondholders last-minute bellyaching, and the domestic carmakers crying foul are what most Americans (who cared) were likely to name as the downsides.
On the other hand, and IMHO, if they were to be asked if they thought the deal was unfair to Foreign automakers, they would most likely say something to the effect of, "it's none of their business" or "who cares"
They are determined to trick American customers into thinking they are an American company, routinely declaring: "EZVIZ is a North American company headquartered in City of Industry, California"
Well Ezviz IS a U.S. company, as you yourself showed in its incorporation papers. It's headquarters is in City of Industry, CA.
Does a U.S. corporation have to be majority owned by U.S. citizens? Of course not.
Rightly or wrongly, China is associated with cheap goods and shoddy workmanship; EZVIZ would obviously like to downplay that association as much as possible. As would Apple. But that's marketing.
On the other hand, the claim of being a American manufacturer appears deceptive, though probably not illegal unless the product itself is tagged as such. You guys ordered some EZVIZ, does it say Made in the USA or ROC?
Lol, yes, I am not disputing that non US citizens can own US companies.
What I am saying is that it's misleading to market it with claims like "headquartered in City of Industry, California" and "The company manufacturers...". Ezviz 'Inc' is a tiny branch of a Chinese mega corporation taking Hikvision products and re-packaging it, it does not manufacturer anything nor does it have a meaningful 'headquarters'.
It's no longer "yours" or "our" country any longer.
It's more akin to who's the lowest bidder, regardless of affiliation or sales deception, that gets to determine the winners and losers in today's world. No such thing as what's right or wrong or what's in the national security interest. Let's just hope we wake up before we're all speaking Mandarin or shopping for our clothing at http://www.hautehijab.com.
Wow! I can't believe, oh wait, I can believe sensationalized pieces like this can sell papers, or subscriptions.
John, I brought to your attention about Hikvision more than 6 years ago when you had no idea they even existed. [Editor's Note: John is well aware of Hikvision for more than a decade, including when the manufacturer he worked for OEMed capture cards from them.] I said at the time that they will take over, and I am still firmly convinced they will be the industry consolidator. The reason I was certain about their eventual dominance was simple, I have know these guys when they were still a small shop with less than 50 employees. I knew then the vast majority of the team at the time were hardcore engineers, and their company make up and culture remains so. For you to simply dismiss all of their financial achievements to their government ownership is simply myopic.
Hikvision was and still very much is an engineering driven company, with the exception of their HR and finance people, just about every senior management staff including the CEO had advanced degrees in engineering. When you couple with a strong work ethic (it is routine to see their building full of engineers work well into 10pm on weekdays) and a very smart and strategic management team, you end up with a world class company. Yes, I said it. Their management team compared to the ones I have met in the West (I am an American) is world class. How Hikvision quickly took over a giant portion of the EU, Indian, South American markets is stunning. For a company with next to no foreign knowhow to quickly assimilate then dominate requires substantial management savvy and determination.
John, I suspect you have never been exposed to the actual technologies that goes into some their large scale projects in China. If you do, you should be terrified, considering your obvious Cold War mentality towards China. Hikvision's tactic of intentionally underpricing and start from the low end of the market even though they possess some of the most advanced technologies in the surveillance field is a page straight out of the Huawei's playbook. Yes, that is another Chinese conglomerate that has unclear Chinese government ownership status. Both Hikvision and Huawei use their army of engineers and aggressive pricing strategy to become the biggest player in their field. Huawei has beaten both Ericsson and Cisco to become the biggest supply of telecom and network gear in the world. By undercutting their competitor by at least 15% while ruthless pursue hardcore R&D, it will just be a matter of time Hikvision will drive a lot of the familiar names in our industry out of the business.
As a small manufacturer in the same space, I am certainly concerned about the changing landscape, but I am pragmatic about what drove the changes. The security surveillance industry has been complacent, conservative and lack innovation for a long time. I myself thought it would have gone through a consolidation similar to that of the IT space a long time ago, but it has been slow going until now. Consolidation isn't always bad for end customers, consolidation by a large foreign player, especially one that is easy to arouse xenophobic sentiments can be disturbing to some. But hey, no none said business is fair. As a small player, I am not afraid. Despite the fact I am bullish on the prospect of Hikvision, I am certain they will suffer the same fate that is very much the human condition, namely the founders/senior execs are increasingly older and wealthier, there will be the less of a fight in them. As Hikvision gets bigger, more mature, the pendulum will inevitably swing the other way.
I don't think it is very helpful to sensationalize what Hikvision does at all. Much of they are doing their learned from prior act, from the likes of Pelco and Honeywell. For those of us who has to compete against the likes of Hikvision, being rational and pragmatic would certainly be more helpful. On the subject of China, running around calling them commies all day long also isn't very helpful. With freedom to travel and access to information, it is akin to label a country with 1.5 billion people willful idiots. Not everything in life is black or white, this us against them mentality in this global economy and industry is shortsighted. If you want to be more fair and balanced, you should really pay a visit to Hikvision and their cross town rival Dahua, while you are in Hangzhou, you might want to visit Alibaba as well. The world is changing, the cliche about China and Chinese companies is just that, a cliche.
"For you to simply dismiss all of their financial achievements to their government ownership is simply myopic."
If you read the article, you would know I was not dismissing 'all' of their achievements. For example, I said:
"They have done an excellent job using their government base as a foundation for global expansion. Equally importantly, they have shown that they are capable of transitioning from a mega-enterprise provider inside China to a lowest cost disruptive entrant in the rest of the world. That, in itself, is extremely difficult to manage and the fact that they have done that so well is extremely impressive."
I am happy to hear your feedback but you should carefully read what I wrote before going off on a rant like you did.
"If you want to be more fair and balanced, you should really pay a visit to Hikvision and their cross town rival Dahua"
Since you are determined to make unfair accusations against us, let me clear that Ethan went to Hikvision and Dahua Hanghzhou HQs last month and his experiences there and talking with numerous Chinese industry people certainly contributed to our analysis / position.
John, I am NOT targeting IPVM. My opinions were towards you specifically. You obviously have a bunch of preconceived notion about what is going on around the world. It is rather unfortunate when you let your prejudice get in the way, and I am not sure your readers are better served as a result. I very much doubt Ethan was given the time of day to sit down with Hikvision or Dahua senior management, nor was he allowed access to their research labs. I mean no disrespect to Ethan, why would they grant access to your lead tester?
You should be getting a different reception should you care to stop by because your renown in the industry. Or you can ignore my suggestions and hang on to your views, this is your turf after all.
"By undercutting their competitor by at least 15% while ruthless pursue hardcore R&D, it will just be a matter of time Hikvision will drive a lot of the familiar names in our industry out of the business."
This simply wouldn't be possible without the sponsorship of the Chinese government.
Furthermore, how is it fair that Western companies don't have any chance of winning these Chinese government projects? Without the padding of the financials with these safe city projects, Hik wouldn't be able to offer the price level they do now.
This would be a mute point if the competition was fair and open on their side as it is ours.
Wait until the Chinese government activates it's secret bit of code that enables it to monitor just about anything, anywhere in the world. Talk about the largest Trojan horse the world has ever seen...
Actually my comments were all "tongue in cheek", primarily to get a reaction. But having gone down this path, I suppose that all the Bitcoin mining debacle, the gathering of personal information by the large multinationals on practically everything we eat, say, look at online, do on a day to day basis is tin foil hat territory? Is there a name for this dream world you live in?
Please let's end this line of discussion. I am sure we all agree that there are risks out there but unless we have specific new evidence or details, it is not productive to speculate or argue generically.
The real issue is trust. I do not trust the belief that the government holding companies are simply passive investors in these companies. I believe that they leveraged their investments to gain a controlling interest in the companies to support other motives. I don't care if it is true or not. I'm not interested in furthering their success by being a distributor, installer or consumer of their products. Call me an idiot, call me a bigot; no skin off my back. I don't care about their cosmic engineering and financial wizardry. They have done nothing to earn my trust and from what I've read (from both sides of this debate), I doubt they ever will.
I was at the Tri-Ed company expo/sales meeting this weekend in Florida. Let me tell you...it's pretty grim in distribution these days. Tri-Ed's people seem hopeless. The camera business has been ruined and turned into a disposable edge device.
Over drinks in the bar at night, I heard a lot of people talking about how depressing the business has become. One guy even tried to explain that HIK and EZVIZ aren't the same company and they're not selling to end users. Crazy amount of denial going on.
As for the profitability of camera business.. Like Richard Crenna said to Rambo in First Blood... "It's over Johnny! OVER!!!"
I heard a few people say we should all start looking for new jobs. Yeah. It's pretty messed up.
Hikvision has made, and will continue to make, billions of US dollars from Chinese government projects... In particular, 'safe city' projects have proved to be an enormous lucrative business for Hikvision.
Yes, government projects look to be quite lucrative in China. It's also refreshing to see that the integrator is given some latitude in fine tuning camera placement.*
This city may be safer than Abu Dhabi, if possible.
*Meant as humor, I have no idea why those cameras are there, or whose they are, the website is in Chinese...