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Country works to decrease reliance on foreign surveillance equipment
China's reliance on foreign surveillance equipment, standards and software may threaten the country's security, said government officials.
And that in turn may lead to a greater use of a Chinese-developed standard for compressing video surveillance footage.
A security camera image grabs produced using the Chinese SVAC standard developed by Vimicro International Corp. Chinese officials say security cameras play an important role in countering crimes and maintaining social stability. [Photo/China Daily]
China has no official standard governing the compression of video surveillance. Even so, Surveillance Video and Audio Coding, or SVAC, a standard that it took developers about two years to devise, has been in use by the government since May.
"China's security cameras play an important role in countering crimes and maintaining social stability," said Chen Chaowu, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's first research institute.
"In some important areas and industries, we should avoid the risks to national security that might come from using overseas standards and products."
Video surveillance in China is still dominated by foreign companies, Chen said.
According to the market research company Frost & Sullivan, multinational corporations such as the US-based Cisco Systems Inc, the South Korea-based Samsung Group and the Japan-based Sony Corp, Canon Inc and Panasonic Corp command 80 percent of the Chinese market for such equipment.
Almost all foreign surveillance cameras use a coding standard known as H.264, which was established by the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations, and has since been adopted by various countries and regions.
Compared with the H.264 standard, which is better suited for use in telecommunications, the Chinese SVAC is tailored for transmitting and monitoring large amounts of online data, according to Vimicro International Corp, a developer of the standard.
"It really isn't secure to use foreign products in high-security places such as military airports and government buildings," said Jin Zhaowei, Vimicro president.
He said the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the first railway in China that has surveillance equipment along its entire length. Imports have supplied almost all of the components needed for the line's topographical system.
To have a better means of monitoring crimes, China has introduced a national project named Safety City, which calls for the installation of more surveillance cameras. Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Nanjing have signed up for the project.
Jin said Beijing already has about 450,000 surveillance cameras and London and New York have more.
"China's security and surveillance market has only been in existence for several years," he said. "But largely thanks to favorable government policies, this industry has already seen impressive growth and looks poised for more."
A composite of security camera image grabs produced using the Chinese SVAC standard developed by Vimicro International Corp. Chinese officials say security cameras play an important role in countering crimes and maintaining social stability. [Photo/China Daily]