Estonia Approves Hikvision’s Acquisition of BK Group and Its Significant Regional Sales Network

On July 20, Hikvi­sion Sin­ga­pore Pte. Ltd. (a unit of the Chi­nese sur­veil­lance equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­er) was issued per­mis­sion from the Eston­ian Com­pe­ti­tion Author­i­ty to acquire Baltic secu­ri­ty sys­tems whole­saler, BK Group.  The acqui­si­tion will include BK’s glob­al sales unit, BK Eesti AS, among oth­er units that oper­ate in region­al mar­kets such as Latvia, Esto­nia, Lithua­nia, and Poland.  BK Group is report­ed­ly among the largest ven­dors of secu­ri­ty sys­tems in the region.

Hikvi­sion has not­ed that the pri­ma­ry inten­tion of the acqui­si­tion is to improve the company’s mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties in the Baltics.  The acqui­si­tion of BK Group will pre­sum­ably allow the Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­er con­sid­er­able access to the Baltic firm’s glob­al and region­al sales net­works, just as scruti­ny of the company’s for­eign activ­i­ties increas­es in the Unit­ed States and oth­er parts of the world.  While the Baltic states main­tain a wary eye toward Rus­sia, Chi­nese invest­ment fairs differently.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment is in the process of final­iz­ing reg­u­la­tions ban­ning the pur­chase of goods from any com­pa­nies using equip­ment pro­duced by Hikvi­sion (among oth­er Chi­nese tech­nol­o­gy firms), due to the company’s close ties to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and the asso­ci­at­ed data secu­ri­ty impli­ca­tions.  Despite these con­cerns, Hikvi­sion prod­ucts are already per­va­sive in the Baltic mar­ket. In Feb­ru­ary 2020, an inves­tiga­tive piece by the Lithuan­ian Nation­al Radio and Tele­vi­sion dis­closed that the equip­ment is par­tic­u­lar­ly per­va­sive with­in Lithuania’s state secu­ri­ty agencies.