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Stocks of two top Chinese surveillance giants dive on US blacklist report

Beijing

SHARES in two top Chinese surveillance firms plunged on Wednesday following reports that Washington is considering banning them from buying US components, just as the blacklisting of telecoms giant Huawei fanned their escalating tech war.

The move - over alleged human rights abuses - would make it harder for Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology to access the US market and suppliers, Bloomberg News cited people familiar with the matter as saying.

The action, first reported by the New York Times, was also likely to exacerbate a worsening row with Beijing after President Donald Trump stopped US firms from selling to Huawei and barred it from the US market. Huawei has been given a 90-day reprieve.

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Shares of Hikvision dived 5.54 per cent and Dahua tumbled almost 6 per cent in Shenzhen.

Hikvision is the world's largest seller of surveillance equipment, employing 34,000 people worldwide. It has grown quickly as Beijing has expanded surveillance on its population and especially in its restive northwestern Xinjiang region.

The Uighur ethnic minority make up almost half of the region's 23-million-strong population and have been targeted with pervasive surveillance from cameras like those made by Hikvision, among other security measures, following a flare-up in violence in 2014.

Hikvision's controlling shareholder is state-owned China Electronics Technology HIK Group.

As many as five Chinese surveillance hardware makers, including Hikvision and Dahua, could be added to the US Commerce Department entity list, Bloomberg reported. AFP