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.