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China Hits the Accelerator on Road Surveillance Equipment

By Dave Yin / Dec 14, 2019 04:08 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s Ministry of Transport called for the country’s transport departments to speed up the installation of “smart video surveillance and police reporting systems,” as part of a broader campaign to improve road safety, the ministry said Friday in a directive.

Systems should exhibit functionality including automatic detection, warnings, and even “corrections” of unsafe driving behaviors to prevent and reduce accidents caused by illegal behavior “at their source,” the directive said (link in Chinese). It also called for the creation of a reward system for reporting accidents, better data sharing among road authorities and stricter supervision of vehicle licenses, while repealing some mandates specific to the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Transport departments are not allowed to enforce the use of any specific surveillance service providers or equipment models and cannot link the installation of such systems to other work such as vehicle examinations, according to the directive. The latter suggests the ministry may not be looking to replace human traffic monitoring with computers.

The mandate should improve road safety, commerce and inspections for “hidden dangers” and are part of overall government efforts to “simplify government agencies, give operation and management powers to companies, decentralize power and improve service,” the ministry said.

China has pushed for the increased development of advanced algorithm-driven surveillance technology despite foreign governments voicing human rights concerns over such applications.

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, the world’s largest supplier of surveillance cameras, said in an October earnings call that the Chinese market would remain a major source of revenue and that it was large enough to withstand inclusion on a U.S. export blacklist that effectively bars it and several other tech firms, including competitor Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. Ltd., from purchasing U.S. products and services. The company also revealed it had stockpiled enough U.S.-made components to continue operations.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: China Hoards American Chips Amid Fears of Tech Cutoff


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