A surveillance-industry research company found that the world’s largest surveillance equipment maker has long-term links to the Chinese military, including conducting a joint study with commanders and weapons experts and selling cameras and drones to the Chinese air force.
Video surveillance research authority IPVM revealed in a report that Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, a Pentagon-blacklisted company, sold drones and accessory equipment to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in 2019. It was also considered the “top-tier supplier” to the Chinese army in 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The newspaper also stated that Hikvision previously posted a report on its website detailing how its technology could improve the performance of Chinese weapons, including missile and tank systems. The report further described cameras produced by the company being used to record drills and improve weapons accuracy.
The company has since removed the report from its website after it was contacted for comment, the outlet stated.
Hikvision, through a spokesman, disputed the claim. “Hikvision, like many global technology companies, manufactures commercial devices and solutions that some can be considered dual-use goods serving general video-surveillance purposes,” the company stated.
“Not now, and not ever, has Hikvision conducted research and development work for Chinese military applications. Any instances of such by any of our employees were done so in a personal capacity and not at the direction of the company,” the spokesman said.
Unfair US Treatment
The Chinese Foreign Ministry commented on the issue, saying that the Pentagon “unfairly targets Chinese companies” despite US partnership with private enterprises.
The Department of Defense has not explained its decision to add Hikvision to its blacklist. Affiliation with or ownership by the PLA could get a company placed on the list. Blacklisting companies prevents Americans from investing in these firms.
The DoD did not respond to a request for comment from the Wall Street Journal.