Hikvision shares plummet after report that the Biden administration is considering more sanctions

Hikvision shares fell by 10% after a Financial Times report that the Biden administration is planning to impose more sanctions on the surveillance camera company, accusing it of enabling human right abuses.

The Financial Times reports that the sanctions would have “far-reaching consequences because companies and governments that deal with Hikvision … would risk violating U.S. sanctions.” According to the Financial Times, this would be the first time that the White House has imposed these kinds of sanctions on such a large company. The company is the world’s largest manufacturer of surveillance equipment.

In 2019, Hikvision and Dahua, another surveillance tech company, were placed on the U.S. government entity list for its role in enabling human rights violations among Muslim minority groups in China, including the Uyghurs. And under another sanction imposed in June by the Biden administration, U.S. persons are barred from investing in Hikvision. But many municipalities in the U.S. still use Hikvision cameras. According to contract data reviewed by TechCrunch in May, at least a hundred U.S. counties, towns and cities have bought surveillance equipment made by Hikvision and Dahua. They are able to do so because federal actions do not apply at the state and city level.

In a statement emailed to TechCrunch, a Hikvision spokesperson said, "The potential action by the U.S. Government, as reported, remains to be verified. We believe any such sanction should be based on credible evidence and due process. We look forward to being treated fairly and without bias."

Hikvision is among a slew of Chinese tech companies that the U.S. government has targeted with individual actions rather than having a coordinated plan to contain their rise.

TikTok was one notable example under the Trump administration. More recently, under the Biden administration, Weibo was added to a delisting watchlist by the Securities and Exchange Commission. DJI, along with seven other companies, was placed on an investment blacklist in December 2021, for alleged involvement in the surveillance of Uyghur Muslims. The drone maker was already on the Department of Commerce’s Entity list, meaning American companies can’t sell it components unless they have a license.