Hikvision, which makes the facial recognition cameras used to monitor the movement of Muslim citizens in China’s Xinjiang region, may face a ban on doing business with US suppliers – a key source of its technology.
The company is one of the world’s largest CCTV companies, but most of the core components underpinning its signature facial recognition products are still imported from firms based in Silicon Valley, the Financial Times reports.
US government agencies are already prohibited from buying Hikvision products, and fears of a wider ban on the selling of US parts has sent the company’s shares down 37% from highs earlier in the year.
Hikvision has previously downplayed its reliance on US components. The company’s vice-president, Huang Fanghong, commented that demands in the surveillance industry “are much less than those needed for smartphones or telecom equipment.
“We think we should be OK if we cannot buy anything from the US,” he added.
However, as the FT notes, the graphics and computer chips Hikvision uses in its facial recognition cameras can only be produced on a large scale by a handful of companies worldwide, most of which are based in the US.