Purchasing security equipment in China

During the 10th China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security(Security China 2010)in Beijing which was reported on this site last week, Infologue.com had the opportunity to interview Shane Jiao Assistant Secretary General of the China Security and Protection Industry Association (CPSIA – the Chinese equivalent to the British Security Industry Association – BSIA), about quality management and standards in the Chinese security industry. Shane Jiao told Infologue.com that the Chinese security industry has rapidly changed over the past few years, where the focus on supplying the local market shifted towards export. In tandem with the growing market there were significant developments in technology as well as a marked improvement in quality. The next phase in the development of the Chinese security market was the growth of Chinese brands in the international arena especially in video surveillance equipment, DVR and security doors.

However, Shane believes there are significant differences between the way international businesses develop markets and the Chinese business model. The majority of Chinese security businesses rely on the foreign market purchasing in China using the internet to promote their products. This model has drawbacks, principally due to the buyer having little knowledge of local processes, especially in product quality assurance systems, which results in buyer disappointment.

Shane Jiao believes that there are basic steps which could resolve such issues;

Understanding the Chinese quality management framework

There are two management systems in the Chinese security products market; namely compulsory certification or an approval system. In respect of the compulsory system products must certified by the State Certification Center certification before the product can be sold. Products that fall into the compulsory category are intrusion detection, alarm and auto alarm equipment. The approval route, which covers products such as access control equipment, mechanical anti-theft locks, bullet-proof glass composites, DVR, surveillance systems and building intercom systems, require the products are tested to the relevant Chinese national standards before they can enter the market.

There are two types of standards in the Chinese security market, the national standard (GB) and then industry specific (GA). The GB standard is a requirement for all products in China whereas the GA standard applies to the products within the security sector.

Both standards; 37 GB and 63 are developed by the National Standardization Technical Committee for Security & Protection Alarm Systems of China (SAC/TC100).

Testing and Certification of Security Products in China

The China Certification Center for Security Products is responsible for compulsory certification of security products in China and certification symbol. There are two Security Products Quality Testing Centers which were approved by the government in China, based in Beijing and Shanghai. These centers provide two types of test reports for businesses. Beijing Testing Center is responsible for the reporting of sampling inspection and the certification is valid for a complete range of products whereas the Shanghai testing center is valid for one product.

The China Security and Protection Industry Association (CSPIA)

The recognized security trade association in China is the CSPIA, the only national security industry organization in China. It is subject to the guidance of the Ministry of Public Security of China with a responsibility for coordinating the relationships between security businesses and management institutions with the objective of industry development. The CSPIA also has a department which is responsible for liaison between the Chinese security industry and foreign businesses. In furtherance of this objective the CSPIA has two printed publications, the China Security & Protection and the Yearbook of Chinese Security Industry with two websites China Security & Protection Net and China Public Safety and Security Online. This media form the platform for publicizing Chinese security products internationally using a management system ensuring product quality. Moreover, CSPIA has the authority to authoritatively and officially evaluate innovative products regularly.

In summary, Shane Jiao believes that three simple steps will improve the international buyers’ opportunity of procuring the best possible products from China;

  1. Identify what are the required certifications for a particular category of product,
  2. Ask the prospective suppliers for matching quality certification.
  3. Visit China Public Safety and Security Online to verify the validity and dates of such certification

These three simple steps could provide greater assurance to the buyer in respect of product quality. To assist foreign purchasers with their purchasing decisions, the China Public Safety and Security Online website has a free service which assists with the three steps referred to earlier. In addition it will provide a “Suppliers Survey Report” to buyers. They believe that this service reduces the time, effort and difficulties faced by buyers trying to understand China’s quality processes and regulatory requirements. Shane once again cautioned buyers that buying on price without taking cognizance of the Chinese quality framework will almost certainly lead to buyer dissatisfaction.