“Huge train-wreck” as Z Cam struggles for survival, due to US lockdown on parts produced by Huawei
Chinese camera manufacturer Z Cam could be the first casualty of the ongoing US-China trade war, with reports of a “huge train-wreck” taking place as the company struggles for survival.
You may not have heard of Z Cam, but it is a remarkable “little engine that could” in a camera industry dominated by giants. The manufacturer’s line of versatile cinema cameras, built around everything from Micro Four Thirds mounts and sensors to Canon EF and Super35 versions, are well regarded among cinematographers for their adaptability.
However, the company’s future may well be in jeopardy as a direct consequence of the tightening trade restrictions imposed by the United States on Chinese entities. That’s according to a report by Personal View (by way of 43 Rumors), which paints a very bleak picture.
“Huge train-wreck seems to be happening with little amazing Z-CAM team,” says the report. “All E2 cinema cameras are based on the main LSI chip made by HiSilicon (Hi3559A V100 and maybe few more models). For reference – HiSilicon is chip design branch of big Huawei corporation. Hisilicon designed [sic] all the primary LSI (called Kirin) for Huawei smartphones [sic].
“Right now Huawei is on the first front lines of China-US industry war, with the US promising to leave only burning ashes from smartphone market leader. Since last US punch, it is more correct to say now that they designed/made such chips and can’t do it anymore. The US put extreme sanctions on Hisilicone specifically – now they can’t use any contract manufacturers (as 100% of them use US intellectual property, equipment or software) and can’t keep even be using US software to design chips themselves.”
In case you haven’t heard, the US has recently increased its restrictions on business with China-specific. It has closed a well-exploited loophole, meaning that semiconductor suppliers anywhere in the world making use of American equipment or software program cannot supply to Huawei – a move that, in accordance with analysts like Edison Lee, “puts Huawei’s survival at risk.”
Likewise, it jeopardizes companies such as Z Cam that rely on parts provided by Huawei. While these limitations wouldn’t directly affect cameras that have already been made, an inability to produce key components would have a significant impact on its ability to service products – thus making warranties worthless.
“Such way Z-CAM cameras suddenly won’t have their heart available for the company, and this also concerns any already made, sold or waiting to be sold camera, as servicing issues and lack of parts can prevent the company from keeping their warranty obligations. On small marketplace of semi-pro and professional cinema digital cameras, this alone is producing your product unacceptable for any serious production.
The company now tries to hide this information from potential buyers, cleaning it instantly from the Facebook group and trying to prevent its leak to the digital camera-related press. It will be a real tragedy if we’ll have like an interesting company (that had been able to withstand very hard climate) will be going out of business as collateral damage in the US-China trade war.”