The calls for the boycott of Chinese products amid the ongoing geopolitical tensions between India and China may be trending on social media. But these calls for action are yet to find takers in the real world. The sales of Chinese smartphones and consumer durables are at an all-time high and are yet to be impacted by the growing discontent against China.
Although representatives from Chinese smartphone brands have refrained from commenting on this issue, several industry experts have claimed that there is absolutely no impact on sales on account of anti-China sentiments. According to the IDC report, India is the second-largest smartphone market after China. Nearly 152.5 million smartphones were sold here in 2019. In this, Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme, and Oppo account for almost 76 percent of the market.
The numbers say it all
A whopping 32.5 million Chinese smartphones were shipped in the first quarter of 2020. Many of the Chinese brands collaborated with Amazon and Flipkart for the flash sales of their products and spent huge sums of money to promote them. Bloomberg reports that, on 18th June, OnePlus 8 Pro went up for sale on a popular e-commerce platform and the device was sold out within minutes after the sale went live. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9 Pro Max too was sold out in a few minutes after the commencement of the online sale.
Industry body Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) observes that public sentiments are being shaped through various social media platforms which could ultimately reflect on their purchase behaviour. To counter this sentiment, many brands have recently initiated ‘Made in India’ and other nationalistic campaigns.
One of such brands is Xiaomi. In a recent interview, the MD of Xiaomi, Manu Jain had refuted the impact of anti-China sentiments and claimed that his company is more Indian than many local brands and offers more value and privacy for its customers. These are claims that we have debunked point-by-point in our recent article.
All hope is not lost
It is true that anti-China sentiment is on the rise in India. It is largely because of the bullying tactics China has used in terms of picking up fights with its neighbouring countries. It is also a fact that China attacked our soldiers in a premeditated manner and caused 20 casualties. Indian consumers like you and me should view Chinese products as nothing less than invaders. Trending topics like ‘Boycott China’, ‘Go China’ and ‘Go Chinese Go’ etc. on social media platforms won’t make much of an impact until the views consumers share on the virtual world resonate with their actions in the real world.
Considering the privacy issues that come along with Chinese smartphones, ‘invaders’ is only an apt analogy. As the Government gears up to reduce India’s overall dependence on China, common citizens too can contribute by not buying Chinese smartphones. Chinese companies are more than welcome to set up shop in India, but our consumer behaviour should make it clear to them that their products are not welcome into our lives. Changing our consumer behaviour is the best way to fight China as a common man.