WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday placed 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies -- including video surveillance company Hikvision and seven other companies -- on a U.S. trade blacklist over Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Those added to the so-called Entity List include the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People's Government Public Security Bureau, 19 subordinate government agencies and eight commercial firms, according to a Commerce Department filing. The companies include some of China's leading artificial intelligence firms such as SenseTime Group Ltd., and Megvii Technology Ltd., which is backed by Alibaba, as well as Hikvision, formally known as Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology, IFLYTEK Co. Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., and Yixin Science and Technology Co. Megvii filed for an IPO this summer of at least $500 million in Hong Kong, while SenseTime raised $620 million in a second round of funding in just two months last year and is one of the world's most valuable unicorns in artificial intelligence. While U.S. officials said the announcement was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China, the announcement sets the tone for a potentially more aggressive positioning by Washington in negotiations with Beijing to end an 15 month trade war between the world's biggest economies. Reuters reported on the planned additions earlier on Monday, before the Commerce Department made it official.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. is considering cutting off the flow of vital American technology to five Chinese companies including Megvii, widening a dragnet beyond Huawei to include world leaders in video surveillance as it seeks to challenge China's treatment of minority Uighurs in the country's northwest. The U.S. is deliberating whether to add Megvii, Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and two others to a blacklist that bars them from U.S. components or software, people familiar with the matter said. The two others under consideration are Meiya Pico and Iflytek Co. Ltd., according to one of the people. The Trump administration is concerned about their role in helping Beijing repress minority Uighurs, they said, asking not to be identified talking about private deliberations. There's concern also that Hikvision or Dahua's cameras, which come with facial-recognition capabilities, could be employed in espionage, the people said.
This picture taken on May 3, 2018 shows the ZTE logo on an office building in Shanghai. Telecom giant ZTE may have temporarily escaped a "death sentence," after the U.S. tentatively lifted a ban that would have blocked the Chinese company's access to American technology, but its outlook is anything but certain as it reels from mounting losses, management tumult and renewed political uncertainties. The Shenzhen-based company had about $6 billion wiped off its market value in just three days last week after its shares finally resumed trading on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges. The company's stock had been suspended since mid-April when the sanctions were announced. ZTE said on June 8 it had agreed to pay a total of $1.4 billion in fines and overhaul its senior management ranks in exchange for removing a ban on purchasing the components and services needed for assembling its smartphones and telecom gear.
Washington says Huawei could be compelled by Beijing to spy on or disable foreign telecom networks that use its equipment. The Trump administration has been particularly focused on dissuading allies from using Huawei gear in their rollout of 5G--the next-generation mobile networks that promise to connect more things, including self-driving cars and factory components, to the internet. In a sign of the challenges ahead for U.S. officials, though, the trade show here has offered Huawei the opportunity to tout new deals with America's friends. It used this week's Mobile World Congress, rebranded this year as MWC Barcelona, to announce a high-profile agreement with the biggest carrier in the United Arab Emirates, one of America's closest Mideast allies, to build that country's first 5G network. Despite facing off on European soil, Huawei is benefiting from the sense of a home-court advantage here.
WASHINGTON/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The U.S. government expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. The decision, almost certain to draw a sharp response from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd. The action bars the firms from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval - a potentially crippling move. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for what it says are national security reasons. U.S. officials said the action was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China, but it signals no let-up in U.S. President Donald Trump's hard-line stance as the world's two biggest economies seek to end their 15-month trade war.