Security firms address weaknesses by building teams overseas

By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Hou Liqiang in Nairobi, Kenya
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, February 4, 2016
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As China's corporate interests expand worldwide and face mounting security risks in unstable areas, Chinese employers and security companies are addressing their own weaknesses by building security teams abroad.

China Road and Bridge Corp, a leading construction contractor, is building a security system for its projects in East Africa. And there have been no major safety incidents since work began in December 2014 on its approximately 480-km-long Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway project.

Mo Kun, manager of the project's security department, said his was the first security department the company set up abroad. It hires armed police officers from the Kenyan government and security personnel from Chinese and local security companies.

Each of the project's three administrative levels has its own leading team for public security, he said.

Meanwhile, Zhongjun Junhong Group, a Beijing-based security service with branches in countries such as Cambodia and Kyrgyzstan, is looking into setting up a joint-venture security company in Pakistan.

Chinese security companies are exploring overseas markets, such as Indonesia and Laos, as sites to open new security companies, guard training schools and security bases.

Ke Yinbin, secretary-general of the diplomatic and security think tank Chahar Institute, said only four Chinese enterprises directly invested overseas in 1979, but today the figure exceeds 15,000.

Many Chinese businesses have invested in resource-rich countries that at times experience turmoil, for example in Africa and Latin America, and many Chinese security services are now "focusing on safeguarding energy and infrastructure sector enterprises", Ke said. Ke also said that Chinese security providers still have to contend with difficulties such as handgun licensing in destination countries, securing work visas for Chinese personnel and a lack of security awareness among Chinese employers.

The Chinese government could discuss procedures with host countries to facilitate the placement of Chinese security staffs, and subsidies provided by some local governments encourage the placement of security services abroad, Ke said.

Yuan Tiecheng, founder and CEO of Riskon International, a security company based in Beijing, said that the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are promising for investment, yet "many Chinese employers lack security awareness".

"They do not engage in security assets management and risk evaluations before setting foot in the destination markets, not to mention paying for this. These are lessons that have to be learned," Yuan said.

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