A few of ZKTeco's many products. The company is provides a end-to-end access control solutions, from the software they run on to the terminals that read fingerprints and faces.

ZKTeco, a China-based firm providing security, biometric access control and time management solutions, is moving its U.S. headquarters to Alpharetta, investing $5 million and creating 40 Georgia jobs in the process. 

The company, which has dual headquarters in the cities of Dongguan and Xiamen and a broad manufacturing base throughout China, currently has its U.S. subsidiary based in Fairfield, N.J. It also has innovation centers in Silicon Valley, Hangzhou and around the world. 

ZKTeco offers a broad array of products, from large stand-up AI-enabled screens and panels to X-ray machines used for cargo, to smaller radio frequency identification card and Bluetooth readers for access control. It claims to be the “world’s largest manufacturer of RFID and biometric recognition technology, including fingerprint, facial, finger-vein and palm-vein readers.” 

The company has 3,500 global employees in 28 countries. 

Alpharetta was targeted for its talented workforce, as the company plans to develop new products there in partnership with local universities, executives said in a news release issued by Gov. Brian Kemp’s office. 

Chairman John Che hinted that the north Fulton County headquarters could become a significant export base. 

“The expanded headquarters will help accelerate the growth of our business in North America. We also plan to develop world class technology in the security industry by partnering with local educational institutions from this location and subsequently distributing the products we develop throughout our expansive network of global offices,” Mr. Che said in the release. 

The company will be hiring in the areas of sales, tech support, research and development, light assembly, quality control and logistics. 

ZKTeco USA president and founder Manish Dalal said metro Atlanta was a “natural place” for the U.S. headquarters, thanks to its nice weather and large airport. Customers will be coming in from all over the world, he said. 

Operating as a subsidiary of a Chinese firm, ZKTeco USA will be seen as a Chinese investment win for Georgia’s economic development team. It may be a corporate relocation, but a new operation within the state is just as vital as a greenfield investment, officials have said

Georgia has struggled to gain Chinese investment traction, though state officials have said they see a promising pipeline ahead as Chinese firms seek a U.S. presence to sustain market share amid a bruising trade war between the two countries that could escalate further if a deal isn’t reached by March 1. 

China’s government-backed effort to become a powerhouse in the fields of artificial intelligence and industrial technology has been a concern of the Trump administration and a key justification for the imposition of tariffs. 

Some advocates have also voiced growing concern that the Chinese government’s use of facial recognition and other surveillance technologies create a modern surveillance state in the name of security.

They cite as evidence the Xue Liang, or “Sharp Eyes” project, an effort to link security and access cameras around the country with a massive government identification databases. Private companies have been active partners in these efforts.

ZKTeco’s Chinese website references Xue Liang and notes that the company offers “anti-terrorism” products and “mass-scale real-time face recognition surveillance,” which gives the end user the ability to monitor large public spaces.

Cracking down on extremism has been used to justify increasing use of monitoring technologies in Chinese cities, especially in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.

A video of an existing ZKTeco Experience Center shows off the use cases of the company’s biometric access control products, including “smart prisons,” bank tellers, ATMs and vaults, parking lots, constructions sites, as well as products that can add biometric capabilities to existing vendors’ solutions. The company also cites global collaborations with industry leaders like Honeywell.

Learn more about the company in the video below:

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...