The recent Galwan Valley face-off has severely sparkled the anti-China sentiment. Since then, both the print and social media have been reporting incidents of “Boycott Chinese Products”. This negative mood is being reflected by burning Chinese goods on Indian streets.
Anti-China slogans were raised outside Xiaomi stores. Some people hurled Chinese TV sets down their balconies. A few protestors including public representatives had gone to the extent of burning Chinese flags and effigies of China’s President Xi Jinping in response to the border clash. Vandalism has been patriotic for a while now.
Though both the nations are nuclear-armed, China is way ahead of India in world trade. As per the Department of Commerce, GOI, India’s import figure is higher than export. There’s a (-) 3.74 lakh crore Export-Import trade balance with China in the year 2018-19.
Starting from smartphone to cosmetics, India is importing Chinese products in every sphere and thus there’s a huge trade deficit (8 vs 3% export).
List of Chinese Products in India:
If you happen to search the list of Chinese products in India, then one can find that the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had listed more than 3,000 Chinese products spreading over 450 broad categories.
These include mobiles, telecom equipment, internet apps, home appliances, TV, FMCG, toys, fabrics, footwear, kitchen items, food commodities (kidney beans, apples, honey, pears etc.), solar panels, electrical machinery, plastic articles, optical, medical, surgical, iron & steel, auto components, fertilizers, organic chemicals, pharma API etc.
Thus, one can easily observe that the dominance of Chinese imports in India is across all sectors.
As per the GOI statistics, the imports from China sector wise are as follows:
- Toys & Gift items Market – 90%
- Pharma API – 70%
- Smartphones – 60%
- Bicycles Market – 50%
- Automobile Industry – 40%
- Metallurgical Industry – 17%
- Power – 7%
- Construction – 5%
- Services – 4%
Popular Chinese Mobile Brands in India
For example, if you consider the Indian smartphone market, 4 out of the top 5 brands are Chinese. Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, OnePlus have invested a lot by opening manufacturing plants in India.
Some openly criticize these Chinese electronic giants for being instrumental in disrupting the Indian smartphone industry and thus they call to boycott Chinese products.
Interestingly, the Chinese firm BBK Electronics Corporation markets smartphones under the Realme, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus brands. It is the 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, after Samsung.
However, one cannot forget the commitment of Chinese companies in joining the “Make in India” programme.
This is a comprehensive list of all the Chinese smartphone mobile brands in India.
- Huawei – Honor
- Lenovo (Motorola)
- Letv – LeEco
- OnePlus 1+
- Oppo – Realme
- Tecno Mobile
- Xiaomi – Redmi – Mi
- Zopo Mobile
- ZUK Mobile
Top Chinese Apps in India On Google Play Store
As per the recommendation of the Indian Intelligence Agencies, 59 mobile apps linked to China are red-flagged.
They are as follows:
|Type of Apps (Categories)||Red Flagged Chinese Apps|
|Video conferencing app||Zoom, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi)|
|Short video apps||TikTok, Kwai, VMate|
|Social content platforms||Helo, SHAREit, Xender, Weibo, WeChat, UC News, LIKEE, NewsDog, QQ Messanger, QQ NewsFeed, WeSync, Mi Community, WeMeet, QQ International|
|Web browser apps||UCBrowser, UCBrowser Mini, APUS Browser, CM Browser, DU Browser|
|Video and live streaming apps||LiveMe, Bigo Live, Vigo Video, U Video, Vault-Hide, Viva Video, QU Video Inc, QQ Player, QQ Music, New Video Status, DU Recorder, V Fly Status Video|
|Utility applications||Cam Scanner, DU Battery Saver, DU Cleaner, Clean Master – Cheetah, CacheClear, DU apps studio, Baidu Translate, Baidu Map, ES File Explorer, QQ Launcher, Mail Master, QQ Mail, Parallel Space|
|Security Apps||Virus Cleaner (Hi Security Lab), 360 Security, QQ Security Centre, App Lock, DU Privacy, Vault-Hide|
|Photo Editor||BeautyPlus, PhotoWonder, Perfect Corp, YouCam Makeup, Wonder Camera, SelfieCity, Meitu, SweetSelfie|
|Gaming apps and software||Clash of Kings, Mobile Legends, Battle of Empires, Mafia City, Game of Sultans, HAGO|
|E-commerce applications||ClubFactory, SHEIN, and ROMWE, Mi Store|
List of Indian Startups Funded by China:
What is Indian, isn’t actually Indian. In the last 5 years, Chinese tech investors have pumped $8 billion in fledging Indian companies especially the tech startup segment.
All these companies are visible and flag bearers of the Indian startup ecosystem. On the contrary, Indian companies had invested a mere $1.09 billion in China.
As per the report published by Gateway House, more than 69 Chinese companies and venture capital firms have invested in 104 Indian startps.
About 50% stake is controlled by Chinese capital firms in a large number of Indian startups including unicorns such as Paytm, Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket, OYO etc.
Here’s the list of Chinese companies funding India startups:
Boycott Chinese Products Could Hit Indian Startups
|Chinese Venture Capital Firms / Chinese Companies||Portfolio Companies/Startups||Remarks|
|Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial/Alibaba||Paytm, Paytm Mall, Paytm First Games, Snapdeal, Zomato, BigBasket, Delhivery, Healofy, TicketNew, Rapido, Vidooly, XpressBees||$2.7 billion across 7 companies|
|Tencent||Byju’s, Flipkart, Swiggy, Ola, WeChat, Hike Messenger, KhataBook, MyGate, Niyo Solutions, PolicyBazaar, Udaan, Dream11, Ibibo Group, Doubtnut, NewsDog, Practo, MX Player, Pocket FM, Gaana, Pine Labs||$10 to $15 million in 16 companies|
|Shunwei Capital||Zomato, Cashify, Meesho, Chalo, Sharechat, SimSim, Pratilipi, KrazyBee, Clipapp, LoanTap, Kuku FM, Rapido||$2 billion across 16 companies|
|Fosun RZ Capital||Delhivery, Ixigo, Loca, LetsTransport, DotPe, Mylo, Kredily, Kissht, Ahuja Constructions, Dream11||$85 million in 12 Indian startups|
|Xiaomi||Hungama, Sharechat, Rapido, Oye! Rickshaw, CityMall, MarsPlay Internet, Krazybee, WorkIndia, Zest Money, TouchTalent||$61 million invested in 8 companies|
|Hillhouse Capital Group||Swiggy, Udaan, Cred, CarDekho, EpiFi||$165 million in 7 companies|
|TR Capital||Flipkart, Lenskart, Urban Ladder, Delhivery and BigBasket||$111 million|
|Swastika||HelloDhobi, InstaCar, Makkajai, Pickrr, Pocketin||in 12 Indian startups|
|Morningside Venture Capital||Cashify, ShareChat, OkCredit, and Cred|
|GGV Capital||Vedantu, KhataBook, Udaan|
|Didi Chuxing||Oyo Hotels and Homes, Ola|
|Steadview Capital||Dream11, Ola, Flipkart, PolicyBazaar, Lenskart, Nykaa, BhartPe, Unacademy, LogiNext, Quikr|
|Trip.com Group||MakeMyTrip, Ibibo Group (Goibibo, RedBus)|
|Cyber Carrier CL||Zoomcar, IndiaLends, BeYouPlus|
Chinese Investments in Other Sectors:
|Indian Company Names||Their Chinese Owners|
|MG Motor||SAIC Motor Corporation|
|Shanghai Electric India Private Limited||Shanghai Electric|
|BAIC Moto Corp||Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd.|
|Wisco India Private Limited||Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation (WISCO)|
|ZTE KangunTelecon Company (I) P. Ltd.||ZTE|
|Baosteel||Baoshan Iron & Steel|
|SANY Heavy Industry India Pvt Ltd (SANY India)||SANY|
|Yapp India Automotive Systems Private Limited||YAPP Automotive Systems|
|Dongfang Electric ( India) Private Limited||Dongfang Electric|
|China Shougang International Trade And Engineering Corporation||Shougang Group|
|Chongqing Lifan Industry Ltd||Lifan Group|
|Xindia Steels Ltd||JV|
|TBEA Energy (India) Private Limited||TBEA|
What is the alternative to Boycotting Chinese Products?
Recently, the Indian Railways has cancelled the signalling contract (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL)) that was given to a Chinese firm.
If the reports are to be believed, the e-commerce companies (such as Amazon India, Flipkart etc.) should mandatorily display the country of origin for the products they sell.
If one considers the dramatic rise in anti-China sentiment, then anger is justified. However, it’s not feasible aka practical solution or permanent solution. For that matter, India can’t afford to boycott Chinese products.
Though the US surpasses China in terms of bilateral trade, the neighbouring country continues to be the top importing partner for India. Thus, the government should put all efforts to balance the trade instead of boycotting Chinese goods and services.
Here, the raising concern is over higher trade deficit with China.
Let me put this word in simple terms. The trade deficit is an economic condition that occurs when a nation imports more goods than it exports.
For a developing nation like India, this greater trade deficit can be risky. The trade deficit hurts employment and offsets job growth in specific sectors.
If we stop procuring the Chinese goods, then we should either look for other trading partner like US or become more self-reliant. The second option seems to be a better one but it will take time.
But what about the import of intermediate products that are used by our exporting units for their final products?
The government should look for multiple alternatives for certain kinds of inputs. Otherwise, there’s a danger of economy getting paralyzed.
Is Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan the Answer?
Recently, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” stimulus package to fight Covid-19. This is a part of his vision of “Self-Reliant India”.
Some economists claim it as a re-packaged version of the Make in India movement with a new tagline “Vocal for Local”.
Leaving it aside, the Government should seriously start design policies as it is a time to usher in an industrial and agricultural revolution. The strong “Make in India” ecosystem needs both import-substitution and export promotion.
The success of Taiwan and China is a perfect example for the strategic use of Import-Substitution and Export Promotion policies. It helped to record an exponential growth till 1990’s.
Thus, the East Asian economies became significantly self-sufficient by promoting heavy industry sector. This included the growth of energy, iron and steel, machinery, and chemical industries thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imports.
Most economists are of the opinion that India has already missed the bus to make a robust manufacturing sector. When Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is supercharging the modern technology, we can’t remain relatively calm.
And we don’t have to be reliant on China (or any country) for everything we do.
Just Lay a Brick Every Day, Year After Year:
Time has come up to improve our productivity. Actively push for local brands and create opportunities for manufacturing global brands indigenously. Similarly, focus on how to make Indian start-ups profitable.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.
Rome was not built in a day. However, the revolutionary idea to build the Roman empire for people’s security, prosperity and happiness is considered as a historical decision.
Remember, India buys from China because it offers the best value equation. Here, practical economics plays an important role in India’s national interest.
Boycott Chinese products is not the answer. If the same face-off happens with the US or Saudi Arabia, can we afford to impose trade sanctions against them? Definitely No!
Moreover, India is deficient in rare-earth elements (REE). Then how one can expect not to be dependent on Chinese mines that has 97% global monopoly in rare earths.
These are a must for producing high-tech consumer products (smartphones, TV, monitors, other electronic gear), defence-related applications (electronic displays, laser, radar, sonar systems), medical imaging and clean energy.
Boycott China, for that matter, boycotting any country is a stupid idea. In the new era of globalization, it is impossible to isolate any country and boycott its products. This will be futile, foolish, and ultimately counterproductive.