South Yorkshire security firm hits back after ban on surveillance camera sales to US government

A leading South Yorkshire manufacturer of security systems has hit back after it was added to a list of companies seen as threatening US national security.

The firm has premises in both Rotherham and Doncaster.
The firm has premises in both Rotherham and Doncaster.

Chinese security firm Hikvision, which has premises in both Doncaster and Rotherham, has been told by US Congress that the American government has imposed a ban on buying the company's products over national security concerns.

But the firm has described the vote as 'baseless' and that it was 'disappointed' after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives.

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As well as Hikvision, which trades locally as Pyronix, two other Chinese firms were also added to the list.

Hikvision, which has operations across the globe, has the Chinese government as its controlling shareholder.

A statement hitting out at the ban forbidding US government agencies to purchase surveillance products from Hikvision said there was no proof that it threatened US national security and that such an accusation carried “obvious speculation and bias”.

“Hikvision is a commercial entity that operates globally and strictly conforms to business ethics and all relevant regulations,” the company said. “We are dedicated to the advancement of safety in all countries and regions.”

It could take months before the bill goes into effect because it has to be reconciled with a similar bill from the Senate and then passed to President Donald Trump for approval.

Founded in 2001, Hikvision has operations across the globe and the Pyronix branches in Doncaster and Rotherham are part of the firm's empire.

It employs more than 26,000 people globally, about half of whom work in its research and technical service departments.

Products are sold to more than 150 territories and systems have been installed in schools and prisons as well as sensitive sites such as the Fort Leonard Wood army base and the US embassy in Kabul.

In 2016, Edward Long a former staff member from a video surveillance equipment maker in Florida claimed in a petition to the White House that Hikvision’s cameras were sending footage back to China.