Congressional Letter Calls Out US Companies Supporting Dahua and Hikvision
A bipartisan Congressional Letter has called out US companies that 'support' or have 'commercial ties' to Hikvision and Dahua and how they are contributing to Beijing's persecution of ethnic minorities.
This raises a hard question: Do US companies with commercial ties to Dahua and Hikvision contribute to human rights abuses?
The March 4, 2019 Letter from the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs reiterates the calls for sanctions for human rights abuses, directly naming Hikvision and Dahua, as the excerpt below shows:
Of particular concern are reports of U.S. companies that may be contributing to Beijing’s persecution of Uyghurs through their support or commercial ties to Hikvision and Dahua—two Chinese tech giants that have profited from the surge of security spending in Xinjiang. [emphasis added]
$1+ Billion Contracts
An IPVM investigation found more than a billion dollars in contracts for Dahua and Xinjiang in the province where the persecution is most intense. Given the PRC's constraints on public disclosure and increasing censorship of such project documentation, the total is almost certainly even higher but not feasible to determine how high.
Because of these ties, the Trump administration is considering sanctions on various entities and officials, including Hikvision and Dahua, which could result in the end of their US operations/dealings with US companies.
US Company Suppliers - Intel, NVIDIA, Seagate, Western Digital
Hikvision and Dahua have extensive supplier relationships with large American tech firms, chiefly:
- Intel: Hikvision's NVRs and 'open source smart cameras' use Intel processors, Hikvision's AI cameras use Intel Movidius' Myriad 2 VPU, while Hikvision's industrial robots are also powered by the Myriad 2. Dahua NVRs and people-counting cameras also use Intel processors and Movidius chips, respectively.
- Western Digital: the company's hard drives are used in "the majority" of Hikvision NVRs for storage, a rep told IPVM at Intersec, where a WD/Hikvision collaboration with the WD Purple surveillance-optimized hard drive was on prominent display. Dahua DVRs also use the WD Purple drive.
- NVIDIA: For smart city applications, Hikvision uses NVIDIA's Jetson GPU platform, servers powered by NVIDIA's Tesla P4 GPUs, and NVIDIA's DGX-1 AI supercomputer, an NVIDIA blog stated. Dahua's Deep Sense server uses NVIDIA's Tesla 4 GPUs. [link no longer available]
- Seagate: Hikvision NVRs use Seagate's SkyHawk surveillance drives, as shown in this press release and video; Dahua uses the drives as well, with one Dahua exec calling the firm a "strategic partner" of Seagate in a Seagate press release.
US Company Support - Dealers, Distributors
Many players in the US video surveillance industry have benefited greatly from Dahua and Hikvision. On the distributor side, ADI runs literally non-stop Hikvision sales. Their OEMs, including LTS, do as well. Legions of smaller dealers / trunkslammers lead with Dahua and Hikvision or their various OEMs.
Cybersecurity issues and human rights abuses are ignored, as short term profits are generated.
Abuses Subsidize US Companies
The money that Dahua and Hikvision makes inside of China, including these human rights abusing projects, subsidizes their expansion into the US. The vast majority of Dahua and Hikvision's revenue is from inside China. For example, just 1 of Dahua's Xinjiang projects ($600+ million) generates far more revenue than Dahua sells in a year in all of North America (branded and every OEM customer combined).
Dahua and Hikvision's key competitive drivers are the willingness to spend more and the willingness to cut prices more. These are inherently connected to the vast profits that the companies make inside of China. US companies reselling Dahua and Hikvision products are profiting from this.
This Congressional letter underscores that awareness and pressure against China's human rights abuses and the role of their video surveillance manufacturers in such activities. Whether this ultimately results in sanctions cannot be determined but, minimally, this increased attention is a risk to the industry at large and the organizations that support these companies.
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