Chinese Branch of US Company Issues Fake Reports Triggering Product Recalls in South Korea

By Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian
and Jennifer Zeng
Jennifer Zeng
Jennifer Zeng
Jennifer Zeng is a freelance contributor to The Epoch Times.
August 31, 2021 Updated: August 31, 2021

A Chinese branch of a U.S.-based multinational electronics testing company has been issuing fake reports for China-made goods entering the South Korean market for eight years, Korean media reported as a massive recall of products was announced.

The recall impacted 1,696 products sold by 378 companies in South Korea, Korean media reported. The top three companies with recalled products were the large China-based companies Huawei, drone maker DJI, and Hangzhou Hikvision, accounting for about 30 percent of all forged reports.

Founded and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, the multinational Bay Area Compliance Laboratory Corp. (BACL) performs third party certification and testing of electronic products across a number of jurisdictions. It has branches in Dongguan, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shanghai, and other cities in China, as well as Taiwan, South Korea and South East Asia. All of the China-based branches belong to the same Chinese cooperation, according to a BACL staff member at one of the Chinese branches. 

According to News Korea, the Ministry of Science and Technology of South Korea said that the Korean police are investigating a Chinese branch of BACL for allegedly releasing forged U.S. BACL test reports for broadcast communications equipment sold in South Korea.

Epoch Times Photo
A forged test report issued by a Chinese branch of Bay Area Compliance Laboratory Corp (BACL) (L) compared to a legitimate test report (R). The falsified test report lists the test site as being in the United States. (Courtesy of Ministry of Science and Technology of South Korea)

Of the 378 companies identified, Chinese video surveillance equipment supplier Hangzhou Hikvision had the largest number, 224, of products with fake reports, followed by Chinese drone manufacturer DJI with 145, and Huawei with 136.

In fourth place with 64 reports was Britz International, a Korean company that makes earphones, speakers, and other electronics. Samsung Electronics was in 10th place with 23 reports, while SK Telecom subsidiary Dreamus had only two reports.

The companies have since been banned from selling the products that had fake reports by South Korean authorities for one year.

It is not yet known whether these companies had prior knowledge of the Chinese BACL’s falsification of the U.S. BACL’s test reports.

According to Korean media The ChosunBiz, a subsidiary of Chosun Ilbo, large corporate groups as well as small to medium-sized Korean businesses have complained about being cheated by the China-based testing agency. It is expected that the police will investigate the circumstances behind the falsifications in detail.

Korean law requires companies that sell broadcasting and communications equipment to obtain certification of product compliance with technical standards. This standard includes whether the product prevents radio wave interference and whether it is proven to be harmless to humans.

To date, South Korea has signed mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) for certification standards with 32 countries, including the United States, 27 EU member states, the European Union, Canada, Vietnam, and Chile. It does not recognize certification from bodies in China.

The Epoch Times called BACL’s Chinese branches in Guangzhou and Changsha for comment regarding the reports of fake certifications. Staff members from both branches replied that the tests were done in China, so the test reports were issued from China. They also said that the reports were valid in South Korea, claiming it is not necessary to provide reports from their certifiers in the United States. 

Meanwhile, a BACL staff member from a branch in Seoul told The Epoch Times that the test reports issued by the Chinese branch were not accepted in South Korea.

6 Months of Investigation

On May 15 last year, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Technology received a complaint alleging that some test reports marked as U.S. BACL had been issued by a Chinese BACL branch, Chosun reported.

The ministry spent six months auditing all test reports issued by BACL dating back to 2006. It found that the test reports for close to 1,700 products sold by 381 companies were forged by the Chinese branch of BACL, according to a ministry report released on Nov. 10, 2020.

The ministry said that in order to maintain a safe radio environment, the breach issue would be dealt with seriously under to the relevant laws, adding that equipment such as surveillance cameras, bluetooth devices, drones, communication devices, and PC peripherals are closely related to people’s everyday lives.

On June 17, the ministry recalled all 1,696 products, and announced that their certifications had been revoked, not to be certification again for at least one year. It also banned the same products from being manufactured, imported, or sold in South Korea until properly certified.

The companies were given three months to notify customers.

The Epoch Times has sought comment from BACL’s headquarters in California to ask whether they were aware of the falsified reports but has not yet received a response.

Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian
Jennifer Zeng
Jennifer Zeng
Jennifer Zeng is a freelance contributor to The Epoch Times.