CHINA: To Boycott Or Not To Boycott?

Thursday, 01 October 2020


CHINA: To Boycott Or Not To Boycott?

Barasha Das | June 27, 2020 15:00 hrs

“Boycott China” is a slogan that is getting more shrill across the country and ruffling the patriotic feathers ever since the Indo-China face off on 16th June which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, left 76 injured with 10 soldiers being held captive by the Chinese army. Many have even gone to the extent of burning Chinese goods besides also torching effigies and posters of Chinese premier Xi Jinping. 

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ in place, the current trend of boycotting China has been labelled as ‘Sino Satyagraha’ by national media.

But what would be the practical impact and fallout on India of actually boycotting all that is Chinese? 

The call to boycott Chinese products is nothing new. With every major festival season - be it Holi, Diwali, Dussehra in a culturally rich country like India, hashtag campaigns, calls from politicians, environmentalists and others gain traction and momentum, urging people to refrain from buying Chinese goods. Forget about other major imported products like electronics, nuclear reactors, machineries, chemicals etc, even our Gods are ‘Made in China’.

Let’s take a look at the actual trade scenario between India and China.

India-China Trade Face-off: 

Products India exports to China: 

Organic chemical, ores, slag and ash, natural pearls, precious stones and precious metals, cotton including yarns and woven fabric, fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates

Products India imports from China: 

Electric machinery, sound equipment, television equipment and parts thereof, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances and parts, organic chemicals, plastics and articles thereof, articles of iron and steel

(Source: General Administration of Customs, China)

Chinese impact on Guwahati Market (As per sources with good knowledge of the Guwahati market)

•    About 50% of Guwahati’s market is flooded with Chinese products.

•    Products range from furniture, decorative items, idols, fashion items, crockery, cutlery and many other household items, not to mention automobile parts, etc.

•    100% of the Holi toys like water guns (pichkari) etc are procured from China.

•    50% of the crockery and cutlery, mostly fancy items are Chinese.

•    Chinese products have overtaken the Indian toy market completely.

•    Also 80% of the fashion products in Fancy Bazar are actually produced by the neighbouring country.

“Our citizens are very sentimental and patriotic. Although they are reluctant to buy ‘Made in China’ products, these are usually more attractive both in looks and prices. But these are definitely not durable,” said Manoj Jain (name changed) who owns a popular gift store in Fancy Bazar. 

Some well known Indian companies having Chinese investment: Big Basket, Byju's, Flipkart, Hike, Ola, Oyo, Paytm, Paytm Mall, Dream 11, Delhivery, Quikr, Policy Bazaar, Snapdeal, Swiggy, Zomato, Udaan, Make my Trip, Rivigo.

Do you know?

1. In 2019, Chinese capital investment in India is USD 1,907.5 million.

2. Travel updates: While not less than 8 lakh Indians visited China in 2016 only 2.5 lakh Chinese travelled to India.

3. According to the official data of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), 23,000 Indian students are studying in China. Reportedly, there are only 2,000 Chinese students in India (as per a TOI report of 2019).

4. India has been importing ‘Hindu deities’ (idols) by the millions since 2000. Last year, the Diwali market of Delhi finally saw a fall in the Chinese idol market to 10 percent from the 70-80 percent six years back.

5. Amidst the ‘Boycott China’ calls, Chinese premium smartphone maker One Plus recorded ‘complete sold out’ of its flagship phone OnePlus 8 Pro within minutes of its launch on 18th June on the e-commerce site Amazon.

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