Hong Kong Smartglasses Firm Sees ‘No Shortage of Budget’ in Gov’t Surveillance

Hong Kong Smartglasses Firm Sees 'No Shortage of Budget' in Gov't SurveillanceXloong, a Hong Kong-based tech company specializing in Augmented Reality glasses, is looking to the government’s growing interest in biometric surveillance technology to turn the company to profitability.

The firm was founded in 2015, and has tailored its smart glasses technology to a number of applications including industrial engineering, messaging displays in military helmets, and goggles that display maps for cyclists. But as the company’s CEO, Shi Xiaogang, explained to Nikkei Asian Review, despite revenues of $4.35 million last year, the company has not yet seen a profit, thanks to its extensive R&D investments.

Going forward, however, Xloong “will put 80% of our focus on national security applications”, Shi said, adding later that with respect to government clients, “There is no shortage of budget from them.” It’s an allusion to the enormous state surveillance apparatus, which is increasingly embracing biometric surveillance for policing. Indeed, reports began to appear this year of police equipped with face-scanning smartglasses that could match individuals to criminal databases, though those deployments featured technology from Beijing-based LLVision.

Still, Nikkei Asian Review reports that six local police agencies are already using Xloong’s smartglasses, suggesting there is room for another supplier in this particular niche.

Xloong is also representative of larger market dynamics in being one of multiple AI-focused tech firms enjoying considerable state backing; in its case, primarily through the state-backed BOE Technology Group, which has invested 50 million yuan in the company.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review