How Hikvision Emerged as a Go-To Video Surveillance Supplier in North America
SSI spoke with Hikvision USA/Canada President Jeffrey He for the second part of an exclusive look inside the company.
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MUCH IN THE WAY a rookie has to pay his dues and prove himself in the National Football League, newcomers to the electronic security industry must be tenacious and able to deliver when called upon. The NFL and security are equally unforgiving, with only the most talented, dedicated and resilient able to excel. But as intense as pro football is the stakes are even higher for an industry that safeguards assets and lives – including participants and fans of that very sport. Beyond those aforementioned virtues, to rise through the ranks a security products supplier must also demonstrate innovation, reliability, value and support.
Given that analogy, it’s fitting that the focus of this success story is a manufacturer whose name – Hikvision (pronounced hike-vision) – in part conveys action on the gridiron and is scoring big time in the field of video surveillance. Founded in 2001 and entering the North American market in 2007, the Chinese company has grown at a breakneck pace from its initial OEM base to emerge as the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products and solutions.
In just a few years, no sooner had discriminating U.S. dealers and integrators become familiar with the brand that for many Hikvision had become a go-to mainline supplier. As indicated at the outset, that does not come easy – it must be earned. Speaking of earned, the proof is in the balance sheet as from 2004-2014 Hikvision posted a 53% compound average growth rate.
Along the way Hikvision has overcome some politically-charged stateside reservations and allegations to capture market share on the strength of its quality offerings and aggressive pricing. So as the company continues to ramp up its presence as a North American service organization, it also seeks to enhance its perception within the domestic security community. Perhaps the references above to American as opposed to Chinese football (soccer) are a step in the right direction.
In an exclusive SSI interview, Hikvision USA/Canada President Jeffrey He – a 25-year security veteran (GE, Bosch, DSC, Verint) – explains those initiatives and much more.
When did Hikvision first enter the U.S. market and what does the company hope to achieve here?
HIKVISION FAST FACTS
âž¤ Complete video surveillance products and solutions provider
âž¤ Established in Hangzhou, China in 2001
âž¤ Has 35 domestic branches and 18 overseas subsidiaries
âž¤ Employs 14,500, of which 5,400 are engineers
âž¤ Has more than 200 technology partners and products used in more than 100 countries
âž¤ Posted a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 53% from 2004-2014
âž¤ Produced revenues of $2.4 billion in 2014
âž¤ Recently received credit lines totaling $3.1 billion
âž¤ Amassed in excess of 600 patents and 250 copyrighted software applications
âž¤ Reinvests 7% of annual revenue in R&D
JEFFREY HE: Hikvision USA was created in 2007, initially based in Dallas. At the time most of our business was OEM. In 2010, we moved to the Los Angeles area where we are based now. In 2013, we began seeing our branded products really take off and we’ve experienced astronomical growth since then. We continue to elevate our brand and look for opportunities to demonstrate Hikvision’s technological innovation and market responsiveness. We strive to provide top-notch customer service and it’s very important to us that our partners have a very positive experience when working with us. As we aim for higher market share and revenue growth, we want this growth to better serve our dealers and distribution partners; we want to build the trust of our customer base. We are still just gearing up.
How is Hikvision raising awareness of its offerings and branding in the U.S. market?
HE: We are still in the process of building our brand in North America. We’ve been approaching our regional marketing here from several different angles. The first task was to build up brand recognition within the U.S. and Canada, which we accomplished with advertising, media coverage, social media and events from local expos to large trade shows. Our partnerships with reputable dealers, distributors and technology leaders have also served to benefit our customers and boost our brand.
We also launched our corporate social responsibility initiative, supporting those in need and fostering a strong moral core within our employees. By supporting charities such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Citizen Schools, we want to solidify our commitment to the North American community.
Upon strengthening the Hikvision brand in this way, our next task has been to establish ourselves as thought leaders in the security industry. Again, this returns to the idea of our employees being our strongest asset. Hikvision is made up of a very knowledgeable and experienced team, and we are looking to share their expertise with the North American market.
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