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Here we interview Jason Yang, pictured, General Manager for Hikvision UK and Ireland.
The Times of London recently reported that Hikvision is “a company controlled by the Chinese government”. Is this true?
No. The recent Times of London report included many inaccuracies about Hikvision and video surveillance technology in general. Hikvision is a global, independent publicly traded company. It is not “controlled by the Chinese government”.
What is the ownership structure of Hikvision?
The ownership structure of Hikvision, like many global, independent, publicly traded companies, is complex, and includes a diverse set of private and public shareholders. As of June 30, 2016, 41.88 percent of Hikvision’s shares are jointly owned by China Electronics Technology HIK Group Co., Ltd. (CETHIK) and CETC No. 52 Research Institute, both are part of CETC, a state-owned enterprise; 18.28 percent is privately owned by Mr Kung Hung Ka (a Hong Kong permanent resident); 8.48 percent is owned by the company’s founders and executives; and the remaining 31.36 percent is owned by A-shares investors; International institutional investors such as UBS AG and JP Morgan are among Hikvision’s top ten shareholders.
Who makes the day-to-day business decisions at Hikvision?
Hikvision’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hu Yangzhong leads the senior management team, and oversees the company’s daily and long-term management and business operations of the global company. Hikvision UK is based in London. My team includes sales, marketing, engineering and tech support experts. Our headquarters is in China, but Hikvision grows its business with the local communities we serve. We have created lots of good jobs here in the UK and in all the markets where we do business worldwide.
Who makes Hikvision’s business decisions here in the UK?
I’m the general manager of Hikvision UK Limited, and I work with a terrific team here: Chris Flavelle is our lead technical manager, Kane Luo heads up the channel partner program, and Mike Tolley manages key accounts.
What can you tell me about your business here and your customers in the UK?
Our customers want innovative video surveillance products and solutions; they expect the Hikvision UK staff to have deep product knowledge, broad technical expertise, and experience on major projects. My team has all that. Customers also want personalised service and support. The feedback I get from our customers is that our technical and sales support and service is excellent and our response time is quick. These are priorities for us. Hikvision products and solutions are deployed in a number of vertical markets and in notable facilities around the world. Here in the UK, we’re a trusted partner to top systems integrators and many important end users. We’re growing a great business here, but our focus is helping to protect against the real dangers that are unfortunately present in our everyday lives. Our priority is to provide more a secure environment and protect citizens in the UK and all over the world.
How do manufacturers like Hikvision help combat terrorism and criminal behaviour in the UK?
Simply put, the purpose of Hikvision’s video surveillance products is to save lives. Helping security professionals combat terrorism and criminal behaviour is why we’re in this business. We work directly with the leading systems integrators and end users who depend on Hikvision products and solutions to help them safeguard people, property and assets. Hikvision also helps local authorities combat terrorism and criminal activity through cooperation with law enforcement agencies. This is particularly important in view of recent terrorist-related tragedies in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
Does Hikvision install cameras? Does it monitor camera content or have access to end users’ video data?
Hikvision is a camera manufacturer. Hikvision products are sold through authorised distributors to system integrators and installers. Authorised system integrators and installers install, maintain and service Hikvision products. Hikvision does not do any installation. It does not own or operate end-users’ video surveillance systems or have access to end users’ video or other data.
Is Hikvision concerned about the cybersecurity of its products? What are the roles of the manufacturer, security systems integrators and installers and the end user, with cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a major concern for all physical security manufacturers. At Hikvision, ensuring the highest possible levels of cybersecurity is a top priority. We have a strong commitment to working with its integrators, installers and end users on best practices for cybersecurity, including:
– A special task force at Hikvision headquarters, the Network and Information Security Lab, is responsible for setting Hikvision’s security standards, performing security evaluations and testing, and responding to security issues.
– Hikvision established the Hikvision Security Response Center (HSRC) and Ys7 Security Response Center (YSRC), which are in charge of receiving, disposing and reporting any and all security-related vulnerabilities with professional security emergency response mechanism.
– Hikvision partners with several renowned security data and analytics companies to perform ongoing penetration tests and vulnerability assessments of our products.
Product security is of great importance to Hikvision. We continue to take steps to improve our products, including having them tested by leading third-party cybersecurity firms to minimise any potential security risks. We also believe that cybersecurity requires the joint efforts of manufacturers, integrators, installers and end users.
How do you respond to the Times’ assertion that “Some suggest that the cameras could be hacked from Beijing.”
The Times story said, “Some suggest that the cameras could be hacked from Beijing.” I’d like to know who ‘some’ is and what cameras they’re talking about. Hikvision does not provide access to any government for unlawful surveillance through our equipment and is committed to maintaining the highest privacy standards.
I’ve read reports that Hikvision is subsidised by the Chinese government? How does Hikvision finance its operations?
Hikvision does not receive subsidies from any government or financial institution. After 15 years of rapid development, Hikvision has become the world’s leading video surveillance product and solutions provider. To support that growth and take advantage of potential business opportunities, Hikvision uses different types of financing channels such as an IPO, bank credit facility and bond issuance. Hikvision in August 2016 closed a five-year credit facility in the amount of RMB ¥20 billion (more than US $3 billion), provided by the Export-Import Bank of China. In November 2015, Hikvision secured approximately $3 billion line of credit with the China Development Bank. Hikvision also maintains lines of credit with international financial institutions including Citibank, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, among others. In early 2016, Hikvision diversified its financing channels through issuing 400 million euros in European bonds, with A3, A- and A- credit rating from international credit rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch and S&P respectively.
What can you tell me about your technology partnerships?
Hikvision collaborates with the world’s leading companies in specialised sectors. Hikvision and Texas Instruments work together in a joint product development laboratory. In video storage, we’re strategic partners with Western Digital and Seagate. We’ve also worked with Intel and Sony to develop key product components.
What’s the most important video surveillance technology trend?
The trend that matters the most is using video surveillance to make security directors’ jobs easier. We just wrapped up a month-long roadshow. We went to London, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow to demonstrate some new Hikvision products and integrations. We had great discussion with more than 450 customers. Many are already Hikvision VASPs (Value Added Solution Partners) and many others are interested in partnering with us for training, marketing and project support. To me, this roadshow reinforced the reason that we’re all in this business: Hikvision and our partners want the best technology to help end users run their businesses efficiently and cost effectively, to solve security problems and to make this world a safer place.