Shares in China surveillance giant dive on US sanctions threat

Shares in China surveillance giant dive on US sanctions threat

Shares in Chinese surveillance giant Hikvision plunged 10 percent Thursday on reports that the United States is considering fresh sanctions on the company.

Washington has targeted a number of Chinese firms it says have ties to human rights violations in China’s western Xinjiang region, and in 2019 added Hikvision to a blacklist that cuts access to American suppliers.

Now officials are considering adding the world’s largest maker of surveillance equipment to another list that would leave its customers worldwide at risk of violating US sanctions, the Financial Times said Wednesday.

Shenzhen-listed Hikvision plunged 10 percent to 38.24 yuan ($5.78) Thursday morning as trading resumed after an extended public holiday.

Hikvision is a poster child for the global ambitions of China’s tech sector, with its cameras and video systems used in cities worldwide — including Western capitals.

But like many other Chinese tech firms — notably telecoms giant Huawei — it has become entangled in trade tensions that have soured the relationship between Beijing and Washington.

Its cameras have reportedly been installed in a network of detention centres in Xinjiang, where Beijing stands accused of imprisoning more than 1 million members of the Uyghur minority and subjecting them to a raft of abuses including forced labour, torture and forced sterilisation.

“The potential action by the US government, as reported, remains to be verified,” Hikvision said in a statement on Thursday.

“We believe any such sanction should be based on credible evidence and due process,”it added. “We look forward to being treated fairly and without bias.”

China has vociferously denied the accusations and says the facilities in Xinjiang are voluntary vocational centres to help combat extremism.

Other Chinese tech firms are also in Washington’s crosshairs, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigating Didi Chuxing’s ill-fated initial public offering in New York last year.

The ride-hailing giant said in its annual report that the SEC “contacted us and made inquiries in relation to the offering”, adding that it was “cooperating with the investigation” but “cannot predict (its) timing, outcome or consequences”.

Didi said in December it would abandon the New York listing after Chinese authorities launched a probe into its $4.4 billion IPO in June. The company plans to list in Hong Kong instead. — Agence France-Presse


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