Biz / Tech

Chinese firms "disappointed" for being added to Entity List

Zhu Shenshen
The Trump administration added 28 Chinese companies involved in voice and facial recognition to a blacklist which prevents them from buying American products and services.
Zhu Shenshen

Several Chinese tech firms said they were “deeply disappointed” and “strongly opposed” after being included on the Entity List of the United States, which blocks them from buying American products and technologies.

The Trump administration added 28 Chinese organizations involved in voice and facial recognition to the US blacklist. 

They included listed-firms like iFlytek, Hikvision, Dahua Technology and Xiamen Meiya Pico. Other firms such as Yixin Science and Technology, SenseTime and Megvii, which have raised several billions of dollars in the capital market, were also on the list. 

The US said the companies’ artificial intelligence technologies have been used for “human rights violations and abuses."

Before that, Huawei Technologies had already been added in the US Entity List.

US officials said the action was not tied to this week’s resumption of trade talks with China, but it signals US President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. Through the talk, the world’s two biggest economies seek to end their 15-month trade war, media reported.

Listed firms including iFlytek, Hikvision and Dahua halted stock trading in the morning session on Tuesday.

“We develop most core technologies by ourselves and we have backup plan (on the list). The list will bring very limited influence to our business operation,” iFlytek said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

iFlytek uses AI mainly on education and health-care sectors, China’s top voice recognition technology firm said.

SenseTime said it is “deeply disappointed” with this decision and it has been actively developing an AI code of ethics to ensure its technologies are used in a responsible way.

SenseTime is focused on computer vision and deep learning, with customers in education, medical diagnosis, smart city, transportation, communications and entertainment industries.

Hikvision, China’s biggest video surveillance system provider, “strongly opposed” the decision.

Megvii “expresses a strong protest” for being added in the list “without any facts and evidences”, the company said on Tuesday.

Megvii has obeyed all rules and ethics on data privacy and security policies.

The US government Entity List has been used to limit the influence of Huawei for “national security reasons.”

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services and has filed a lawsuit against the US government’s restrictions. Meanwhile, it has developed its own ecosystem covering processor, operating system and cloud to replace US suppliers.

The blacklisting of Huawei has already hurt many US suppliers that depended on Huawei as the world’s largest telecommunications company and second biggest smartphone vendor.

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