The US administration is ratcheting up pressure on China’s technology champions amid reports that it is also considering restrictions on the ability of video surveillance group Hikvision to buy American products, a move which would likely inflame tensions between the world’s two-biggest economies.
Coming hot on the heels of US President Donald Trump’s decision to add Huawei to a US trade blacklist, which is threatening to put the Chinese telecoms giant out of business outside of China, it is now looking at similar limits on Hikvision, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
In response to a request for comment, a spokeswoman for Hikvision said on Wednesday the company had been “engaged with the US government” on human rights concerns related to surveillance since October last year. “Separately, Hikvision takes cybersecurity very seriously and we follow all laws and regulations in the markets we operate.”
Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems. The US Commerce Department may require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, a separate report by Bloomberg said on Wednesday that the US administration is considering cutting off the flow of vital American technology to as many as five Chinese video surveillance companies, including Hikvision and Zhejiang Dahua Technology, citing people familiar with the situation.
In the span of two weeks, Trump has raised tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple Huawei by adding it to an “Entity List”, which effectively bans them from buying US technology. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.
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